Exerpts from Sven Dodington's Notes, Describing ITT Engineering Activities

By S.H. Dodington

I joined the Busignies organization at ITT on September 15, 1941.

At that time Col. Behn was President of ITT, Henry M. Pease, Executive Vice President (he hired me) and Gerald Deakin was Technical Director. The "labs" were a division of the International Telephone and Radio Manufacturing Co. of Newark. Heading the labs was Harold Buttner, with Maurice Deloraine as Technical Director. While TTRMC was in Newark, the labs were on the 2nd floor of 67 Broad Street in New York.

Under Deloraine were 4 lab directors:

R-1 H. Busignies Receivers

A. Richardson D/F, ship and ground

T. Clark

S. H. Dodington Airborne ECM and related pulse projects.

R-2 A. Alford ILS, Kandoian, Marchand, Pickles, later joined by P. Adams and L. DeRosa.

R-3 E. Labin Transmitters, Hoffman, Ostlund, Young, Poylo,Frankel, and Grieg.

R-4 C. Chevigny Tubes. J. Glauber

My first project was an airborne pulse-repeater for the RAF's "Oboe" system. It was delivered April, 1942. This was followed by the balloon-borne CXCJ radar-deception device for the U.S. Navy. 8 of these were delivered in the Fall of 1942. On both of these projects I was left pretty touch to myself, it being Busignies's policy to not interfere when things were going well. His main concern at that time was D/F.

When I joined the labs there were 85 employees, all on the 2nd floor. In November, 1941 we expanded to the 3rd floor, but after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Air Force took over the rest of the building and further expansion had to be into other buildings, such as the adjacent one on Beaver Street. Finally, in 1944, my department and some of Labin's moved to 15 Moore Street.

General administration was under Donald Baker; contracts under Gene Bower, purchasing under Walter Cobb; accounting was under George Hall.

When Alford was forced to give up his lab in 1943 due to disagreements with USAF on how he was handling ILS, his lab was merged with Busignies, Kandoian joined Labin and by early 1944, the following was the line-up

R-1-1 T. Clark

R-1-2 A. Richardson

R-1-3 S. H. Dodington

R-1-4 L. DeRosa (he had joined ITT in 1942)

R-1-5 S. Pickles

R-1-6 P. Adams

These were called "departments" and mine comprised about 35 people. Each had its own lab, shop and drafting room.

Whenever possible, all engineers took their lunch in the "engineers dining room" on the 19th floor at 67 Broad Street. Besides the names already listed, regular attendees included Al Preisman, and "Spad" Spadavecchia who headed the general machine shop in the basement. ITRMC and Federal Telegraph Co. were merged in early 1942 and we became the labs division of FT&R. FT&R itself later operated in several dozen locations in Newark.

From the Fall of 1942 to the end of the war my efforts were devoted to "Moonshine", an airborne radar deception device for the Army Air Force and Navy, nomenclatured AN/APQ-15. 200 were built by the Newark plants under Ed Wendell, Ted Douglas and Earl Ports. In fact, D/F, ILS and Moonshine were the sole developments of the labs to go into production during the War. Labin batted zero. So, it was not surprising that Busignies took over the whole laboratory operation after V-J day.

Some of the customers I dealt with in those days:

Capt. W.G.H. Finch Navy. Highly critical of Labin (on the ArQ-10

jammer) and of Frenchmen in general.

Dr. K. C.. Black NDRC. Sensible guy.

Dr. G. Hailer Wright Field. Marvelous raconteur.

Flt.Lt. H. Baillie RAF. Expert on German radars against which "Moonshine" was supposed to work.

Busignies spent much time at "production" meetings in Newark, often taking one of his secretaries with him. This eventually led Donald Baker to force him to replace his two 20-year old girls with a much older woman, to the amusement of all the rest of us.

Shortly after V-J day, the first section of the new Nutley laboratory opened and I was selected by Busignies to be its first occupant - on September 15, 1945 - on the basis that I already had experience in operating remotely away from headquarters. The labs were separated from the factory and Busignies took over Labin's R-3 departments and Chevigny's R-4 department. (Chevigny returned to France, saying that the U.S. did not even know how to boil a potato).

While the rest of R-1 moved to Nutley in the Fall of 1945, the R-3 and R-4 groups had to await the construction of additional buildings in 1947, when Busignies also moved his home from Forest Hills in New York to Montclair in New Jersey.



by S.H. Dodington


During World War II, U.S. naval aircraft were aided in the return to their aircraft carriers by the YE/YG beacon on the carrier. This operated at VHF and produced an audio sector-identification in the headset of the pilot. Thus, if everything was working, the pilot might, for example, deduce that he was in the Northwest sector with respect to the carrier and that, using his compass, he thus had to fly Southeast to find the carrier. If he subsequently found that he was in the Southeast sector, he had obviously over-flown the carrier and would now have to fly Northwest. Distance information was solely by estimating signal-strength.

After the War, with the coming of rho-theta navigation for land use, it was natural for the Navy to look to something similar in which direct-reading dials in the cockpit would show direction of and distance to the aircraft carrier, and a carrier-based VOR, as used on land, was tried on a ship, but found to be excessively disturbed by the many reflecting objects on the ship's super-structure.

Instead, Sidney Pickles, who ran Busignies' Rl-5 department, proposed that the beacon use the multi-lobe principle, and be at a much higher frequency. Dodington, who ran the Rl-3 department, proposed that it also include DME. Discussions with the Navy started in 1947 and when the first contract was received in June, 1948, Sandretto insisted that it embody Dodington's constant-duty-cycle principle, already referred to in chapter D.2.

As previously mentioned, each of Busignes' departments was somewhat

self-contained, having its own shop and drafting room and, often, its own customers. Pickles' R-l-5 was typical, being housed at Westchester County Airport in a hangar owned by the Gulf Oil Company. Jack Copelin, FTL's comptroller, refused to allow any expansion by Pickles (since any "improvements" would belong to Gulf) so Sid just bought chicken-houses from Sears Roebuck with petty cash and used them for storage and, on occasion, field laboratories. And, since he did not trust anybody in Nutley, he arranged to have some transmitter hardware built by a friend in California. (However, this was never used, since Dodington's Rl-3 delivered on time.)

The first Navy contract in 1948 was for bearing only and, at first called for the use of CW at 1,700 mHz. However, the customer, represented by John Loeb of the Bureau of Ships, soon saw the advantage of making it a pulse system, in the DME band 960-1,215 mHz so that DME could be added contractually in June, 1949.

The first flight test of Tacan occurred on January 17, 1950 and a demonstration to the Navy was made on June 28, 1950. Since the Korean War had just started, this demonstration attracted more than normal interest and by the end of the Summer of 1950, the British Navy and Air Force and the U. S. Air Force had jumped on the Tacan bandwagon. However, it was now ruled that the bearing accuracy should be increased (by going from 3 lobes to 9 lobes), that the range should be increased from 100 to 200 miles and that the number of channels should be increased from 51 to 126. An equipment meeting these new standards did not fly until early 1952, a demonstration being made to Navy Secretary Floberg and USAF General Blake and their staffs on February 18-21, 1952. Characteristically, Busignies insisted that flight demonstrations and a luncheon be given to all employees who had participated in the work. These numbered 130 and the luncheon took place at Shelley's, Teterboro, on February 28.

In 1951, long before the new equipment had flown, the Navy decided to order 3,000 ARN-21 airborne equipments from Federal and additional quantities from "second sources" and, while we tried to get Capehart-Farnsworth in Fort Wayne designated for this role, the final decision was to give orders for 3,000 each to Hoffman in Los Angeles and Stromberg-Carlson in Rochester, New York. The Federal factory in Clifton was paid extra to manage this "leader-follower" relationship. Subsequently, both "followers" produced better equipments, at a faster rate, than the "leader", a sad commentary on how the Clifton plant worked, but a tribute to the quality of the drawings produced in the Nutley laboratories. ("Nutley" is used loosely, since Dodington's department was actually located in Belleville, New Jersey from mid-1951 to the end of 1958.)

Simultaneously with these orders for 9,000 airborne equipments, the Navy ordered 600 URN-3 ground equipments. These were all to be built by Federal, but whereas the development models had been made in Dodington's department, General Colton, President of FTL, decreed that engineering for production should be turned over to that half of the laboratory which was under Emile Labin; he saw these beacons as a means of his getting into the UHF TV transmitter business and he perverted their design accordingly, using principles more akin to CW operation than to pulse operation. After Labin was removed, these beacons were turned over to Paul Adams, and did not revert to Dodington until mid-1954. By the end of 1954, over 200 airborne sets and 100 ground beacons had been delivered, and Tacan was well on the way to becoming a World Standard.

A further round of 10,000 airborne ARN-21 sets, from the same suppliers, was later ordered. And then in 1958 10,000 more, but this time all of them from Hoffman. 600 improved URN-3 beacons, called GRN-9, were ordered from Federal, Stromberg and Raytheon in 1957. Abroad, the URN-3 was made in Australia and Japan, while the GRN-9 was made in France and Germany. In England, the RAF insisted on an ARN-21 made with British parts. These were not the exact equivalent and the waivers granted in the U.S. consequently did not apply. The program was terminated. The British STURN-3 beacon was a bit more successful and was later also made in Italy as the F-STURN-3, the F standing for FACE.

With the military Tacan program obviously successful, the question remained over what to do about the CAA's "Gertrude Stein" DME which occupied the same frequency band. As mentioned in Chapter 2, no one was using it, but the CAA had over 400 beacons installed and hotly defended it as being simpler and cheaper (for DME purposes) than Tacan. A 2-year debate raged between mid-1954 and mid-1956, during which Busignies took an active part in promoting the concept of co-locating VOR and Tacan stations so as to provide a rho-theta system usable by both civil and military. This became known as VORTAC and was adopted on August 30, 1956.

As of 1982, about 100,000 airborne Tacan sets had been built and about 3,000 ground beacons, with a total value of about $1.5 billion. At least 1/3 of this was garnered by ITT companies.

SHD:kb 3/2/82


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