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IEC's Role in the FBM and SWS Programs
UK FBM Program 
FBM Weapons System
Total Systems Approach
Trident D-5 Strategic Weapon System
New Technologies

Hidden, mobile and ready, a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, each carrying nuclear-tipped missiles, ranges the oceans of the world. The U.S. Navy's primary contribution to our nation's mix of strategic deterrent weapons is the submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) system. sub598s.gif
From the outset, the Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) Weapon System and the subsequent Strategic Weapon System (SWS) have had a single compelling purpose: to prevent nuclear war. SSBN 598 (the USS George Washington, pictured) was the first FBM submarine, carrying Polaris missiles.

IEC's Role in the FBM and SWS Programs
President John F. Kennedy watched a POLARIS
(A-2) missile launch from the USS Observation Island on November 16, 1963. The launch,from the USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN 619) occurred
just six days before the president's tragic assassination. SP Director, Admiral "Pete" Gallantin can be seen over the President's left shoulder, while over his right shoulder is one of the IEC-built telemetry instrumentation vans.

The history of Interstate Electronics Corporation (IEC) is closely linked to that of the United States’ Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) Weapon System. IEC was founded on January 16, 1956, by a small group of experts in range test instrumentation, including telemetry, missile tracking, and data recording systems. Just four months earlier, the National Security Council had recommended that "a 1500-mile ballistic missile system be developed." Both land-basing and sea-basing were to be considered. 

With the approval of President Eisenhower, the Secretary of Defense directed the Army and Navy to adapt the Army's liquid-fueled Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile---the Jupiter---for submarine use. Six months later the Navy abandoned the Jupiter concept to inaugurate a solid propellant FBM, the Polaris.


U.K. FBM Program  
In December of 1962, President Kennedy and Prime Minister MacMillan signed an agreement for U.K. participation in the FBM Program. The U.K.'s FBM submarines began their deterrence deployments in the late 1960s with Polaris A3 missiles equipped with British warheads. The U.K. has since upgraded to a newer fleet of Trident II FBM submarines.

FBM Weapons System
One of IEC’s first major contracts was for the design and development of test instrumentation for the U.S. Navy’s FBM Weapons System. The FBM program was a new weapon system concept, requiring new ideas in instrumentation based on the concept of independent test and evaluation. A comprehensive instrumentation program was developed for ground-based, shipboard and submarine installations.
m10s.gifThe M10 Digital Set was used as the primary data collection station for acquisition, processing, and recording of weapon system performance data aboard A-3, C-3, C-4 Backfit, and U.K. Polaris submarines.
Beginning with its first FBM contract in 1956, IEC has been responsible for the design, manufacture, and support of the systems that receive, process, and display information to evaluate system performance on the U.S. Navy’s submarine-launched FBMs: Polaris, Poseidon, and Trident. IEC engineers have also designed and developed systems that support missile flight tests from preflight checkout through precision range safety and metric tracking.
M33s.gifAntenna Consoles 1 through 5 of IEC's M33 OTI Set were capable of tracking a missile either manually or with autotrack.

Total System Approach  

Throughout FBM’s development, IEC has been part of the U.S. Navy's Strategic Systems Project's total-system engineering approach. IEC provides initial design studies and develops instrumentation data requirements, coordinates the company’s subsystems with other onboard subsystems, designs and manufactures the instrumentation equipment, and provides field engineering for installation, operation, and maintenance. IEC also provides the logistics support and training for the U.S. Navy crews who operate and maintain the equipment on submarines and shore bases.

IEC’s instrumentation plays an active role in maintaining the U.S. Navy’s record of deterrent FBM credibility. Data provided by IEC systems supports the U.S. Navy's comprehensive test, evaluation, and performance monitoring activities.

Trident D-5 Strategic Weapon System
Trident missiles are housed aboard nuclear submarines that provide mobile launch bases and all-weather launch capabilities. Submarine-launched missiles represent a powerful deterrent to nuclear attack on the United States and its allies because of their invulnerability to enemy detection.
Trident 2A


New Technologies

Pioneers in Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, IEC introduced a baseband-processor GPS receiver and translated GPS-based tracking systems in the late 1970s. These evolved into the range safety and metric tracking systems used to track the submarine-launched missiles during demonstration flights today.

We are very proud of IEC's long-standing role in the U.S. and Royal Navy's Fleet Ballistic Missile Programs.