Alastair Samson & Keith Tucker
Interviewees: Alastair Samson & Keith Tucker
Interviewers: Ken Bowering, Pat Barnhouse and Tony Thatcher
Date of Interview: 30 July 2015
Location of Interview: Ottawa, ON
Transcribed by: Joy Thatcher
This is a Canadian Naval Technical History Association interview with Alastair Samson and
Keith Tucker recorded in Ottawa on 30 July 2015. The interviewers are Ken Bowering, Pat
Barnhouse and Tony Thatcher. This interview originally was going to be set up by Jim Dean
who unfortunately passed away before he could get it going, but he was a key player in
Electronic Warfare in the Navy during his time in DMCS and the CPF. The purpose of this
interview is to explore the following four aspects:
- Firstly the development of CANEWS ESM system;
- Secondly the creation of an indigenous Canadian Electronic Warfare centre of Excellence
in MEL Defence Systems;
- The selling of RAMSES Electronic Countermeasures System to Canada; and
- Residual benefits to Canada from these activities.
At this point I’d like to ask Mr. Samson and subsequently Mr. Tucker to identify themselves
and describe the roles and responsibilities related to these topics.
Both gentlemen have signed the Oral History Release form.
SAMSON: Okay. My name’s Alastair Samson. I joined MEL UK in 1980 as their commercial
director. One of the divisions I was responsible for was Electronic Warfare. That role lasted
for two years and then in 1982 MEL UK and Philips generally transferred me to Canada with a
view to continuing the negotiations with the Canadian Navy for Electronic Warfare Systems and
I was the President of MEL Defence Systems from 1982 until I resigned in 1986, so enough
TUCKER: My name’s Keith Tucker. I, too, joined MEL UK, I think in early 1979 after a period
in New York working at a New York EW company. I came back and was then seconded to Canada to
assist with the establishment of MEL Defence Systems. That was in July 1982. And I worked in
various technical authorities until approximately 1989…?
SAMSON: …sounds about right.
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): Perhaps you can provide some background on MEL UK with emphasis on the Electronic Warfare business.
SAMSON: Yes. When I joined MEL in 1980 I was interviewed at Philips head office in London
and the company was not doing very well. It was losing money. The managing director was a guy called Brian Terry. I was told that he would be, confidentially, he would be fired within
eighteen months and that I would take over from him. That subsequently turned out to be a lie
because Brian Terry wasn’t being fired and a guy called Kenneth Bacon was appointed instead.
So I raced up to Philips head office in London and said oy you know this was the deal what
happened? By that time of course the boss guy at Philips UK changed as these Dutch guys do;
they come and go all the time and there was a new guy there who knew nothing about it so,
“sorry about that. MEL’s a complete mess. Can you please stay on for at least a year to help the new guy that has already been appointed?” So I said “fine”.
At that time the negotiations with Canada were really just starting up. We had an agent over here called John Knowles and at some stage before 1982 one of the Electronic Warfare guys Peter Jago was transferred to Canada. I can’t remember the exact date but it was shortly before I transferred to Canada. Anyway at the end of twelve months I said to Philips, “look time is up, I want to go and live in North America. Please could you find me a job over there ‘cause you owe me”. So I was transferred to Canada based with Philips in Toronto with the grand title of Director of North America responsible for negotiations with DSS as it then was now PWGSC, and the Canadian Navy on the, I guess the early stages of the Electronic Warfare Systems that they were looking to purchase. I guess that’s enough on the background to MEL UK. It was in a really bad way, losing money. Brian Terry was a very nice man, but not a very good business guy. Kenneth Bacon was a smart guy, spoiled himself by being very much on an ego trip. And he didn’t last long anyway. He crossed swords with various people in Philips and he was removed I guess sometime in 1983 and a new guy came in, a guy called Bob…, forgotten his name Bob somebody or other, Bob Scott.
TUCKER: Oh we had fun with Bob Scott.
SAMSON: We had fun with Bob Scott yes. That’s another story. But give Kenneth Bacon his due. He was very supportive of our efforts in Canada because he saw that there were big opportunities for business over here and when I was first transferred I talked to, eh, DSS and the Canadian Navy. I wrote back to Phillips in the UK and Kenneth Bacon in particular saying the message over here is if you’re serious about doing Electronic Warfare business in Canada you have to set up a company. So they said okay write a business plan and set up a company. So I wrote up the business plan and basically said as I understand it there are four opportunities with DELEX, DDH 280 and the CPF program; CANEWS and RAMSES for CPF. It’s feasible to run a business on any two of those four because each contract …
TUCKER: What was the four?
SAMSON: Well CANEWS for DELEX.
SAMSON: CANEWS for DDH 280.
SAMSON: CANEWS for CPF, RAMSES for CPF.
SMASON: Four separate paradigms.
TUCKER: I was wondering if you were thinking of the submarine.
SAMSON: No. Two, any two would be worth about fifty, sixty million dollars - a worthwhile
business. So they agreed and basically we set up MEL Defence Systems and …
TUCKER: Now when did we actually incorporate that because when I came over in July I had
been commuting for about four or five months before that, a week here and a week in the UK
on a project over there?
SAMSON: I think that was incorporated by the end of ’82 or early ’83 I would guess because it was starting to get serious and we were in some interesting negotiations. I guess we’ll come on to that a bit later with DSS and DND. Is that enough on the background? How that came about. Do you want to add anything?
TUCKER: No, no you carry on. I’m quite happy here.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Perhaps Keith you should tell us how you got into the business as well.
TUCKER: In to the Electronic Warfare business or the MEL Defence Systems business?
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): From EW to the MEL.
TUCKER: When I joined MEL that’s how I got into the Electronic Warfare business because
prior to that I was at Hawker Siddeley Aviation working on the Harrier and the Hawk. That was
at the time that the Labour government were squeezing all the defence industry and I ended up
with a wife and a child with virtually no money to support them so I ended up leaving Hawkers
and coming down to MEL and getting a house in the process but quickly went over to New York.
SAMSON: Paid you vast sums of money no doubt.
TUCKER: There you go.
SAMSON: I should have added in the background that at some stage and Keith you may know
the answer to this, who was the General Manager of Electronic Warfare in MEL?
TUCKER: Keith White.
SAMSON: No before him.
TUCKER: Before Keith White.
SAMSON: It was a blond, blondy guy.
TUCKER: I don’t remember anybody before Keith White.
SAMSON: Right okay.
SAMSON: Keith White, whoever Keith White’s predecessor was I believe had appointed John
Knowles as our agent over here.
TUCKER: Oh you’re talking about [missing word/name]. Yes I know who you mean.
SAMSON: Yah, yah blondy guy. Anyway I think it was before I came. John Knowles was well
established I believe as our agent and probably end of ’81 early ’82 a decision was made to send Peter Jago across to Canada. I’m not sure of the reasons behind that but really to work with John Knowles and to see what the opportunities were. Then I arrived shortly after that. So that’s I guess the context of our involvement with the opportunities over here.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): So John Knowles had been, you’re working with him or MEL was working with him prior to the arrival of anyone from MEL UK.
SAMSON: That’s, that’s my memory.
TUCKER: I believe that’s the case.
SAMSON: An agreement had been signed with John whether it was legal or not I don’t know
under the DSS rules that he would get x percent of any business that we got. He put out a lot of money and time in fairness to the guy so he was pretty pivotal in making sure we got to know the right people in DND, right people in DSS and so on because I guess he knew a lot of them already.
TUCKER: He seemed to be very effective to me.
SAMSON: He was very effective. In particular it will come up a bit later I guess when we talk about the first contract with DELEX. His good relationship with John Killick was extremely important because those contracts, well there was quite a history behind getting those contracts, even more so when we came onto CPF.
So I guess that explains the roots of how MEL became involved. How they first heard of the
opportunities in Canada I don’t know. That was before my time.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Well I would think it was because on the development phases of CANEWS,
MEL supplied the, the…
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): receivers
TUCKER: Yes, and that was one of my primary roles. I was bringing the knowledge of the receivers like a technical dump from the UK and I had the receiver knowledge when I came here.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): That itself was a rather twisted program for a while. The preference in Canada was for an American receiver system essentially with some politically motivated reasons that eventually landed up with MEL supplying their receivers.
TUCKER: At one point at the beginning I think at this point it was known that we were going to do the receiver part of it. I think prior to July it had been established that we would lead it, lead CANEWS with Westinghouse …
SAMSON: …as a subcontractor…
TUCKER: …providing the processor hardware.
SAMSON: Yes, that’s right yes.
TUCKER: So that had happened at some point prior to that, when exactly …
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): If I can leap in here, Westinghouse when it became obvious that
development projects were fairly, were completed and there was a possibility of production,
asked for what they call a Procurement Review Committee meeting, intergovernmental departments review of those contracts and Westinghouse asked for one. They said we want to come and tell you why we should be the prime contractor on the…
SAMSON: I’d forgotten that.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): …on the production contract.
SAMSON: I’d forgotten that.
TUCKER: They had worked for DREO hadn’t they?
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Yes and but, and what happened was that the Procurement Review
Committee said well if we’re going to invite Westinghouse, can let Westinghouse give us a
talk why don’t we let MEL come and tell us why they should be prime contractor. And essentially, I was there at that meeting and MEL made a far superior presentation. As I said Westinghouse very carefully took aim and shot themselves in the foot.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Really.
SAMSON: I remember a meeting, who was the boss guy at Westinghouse?
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Well it might have been Miller Hepburn you met.
SAMSON: Hepburn that’s the guy. I remember sitting on my balcony in Toronto because initially I was based in Toronto, as part of Philips Head Office there. I remember meeting with Hepburn and a very good guy…
TUCKER: Dave Allat.
SAMSON: Dave Allat right and we sat on my balcony drinking wine and deciding who should be,
tried to work out who would be prime who would be sub and my memory of that meeting was that
Hepburn said I’m happy that we be subcontractor to you guys. Now whether that had already
been decided by you I don’t know.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): I think it had been sorted out. I’m just going through my notes here from the Procurement Review Committee and I also found another set of notes where we had a special meeting with DSS over CANEWS in which Westinghouse once again was saying if we can, we want to be prime, we want twenty five percent of the value of the contract. And somehow there was a note that was a conference call to Miller Hepburn to say let’s sort this one out right now.
SAMSON: Right, right,
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): I imagine Miller sorted it out.
SAMSON: Who was the DSS guy, was that Aaron Rumstein?
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Aaron was involved at one time, Aaron Rumstein and Bruce Weir was the other one.
SAMSON: and Bruce Weir.
TUCKER: Bruce Weir.
SAMSON: Excellent guys. There’s quite a story behind those contracts as well as, as you probably know.
TUCKER: The famous shoe.
SAMSON: The famous shoe incident.
TUCKER: Oh we had good times [chuckle].
SAMSON: Yes good times. Do you want me to continue talking because it just… or do you want to structure me, I getting…?
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): No, no keep on going.
SAMSON: Well DELEX was the first one on the table. My memory was we were still going back and forth to Crawley [UK] all the time although we were based here. I think I transferred to Ottawa ’81 [this should actually be 1983] yah ‘cause I was in Toronto for a year. I was transferred to Ottawa in ’81  and we were talking to Aaron Rumstein in particular. He was the prime guy we negotiated with; with Jim Dean of course and Raj Bhargava?
TUCKER: Oh yah, yah.
SAMSON: Jim Dean says how do I fire this guy?
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Can’t get rid of him.
SAMSON: Funnily enough I met Raj Bhargava’s niece at the Ottawa Athletic Club the other day.
TUCKER: Did you, yes my goodness.
SAMSON: That’s another story. So we were negotiating with Aaron Rumstein primarily with Bruce Weir as his Deputy. And we were back and forth if I remember to Crawley at this time because that’s where a lot of the expertise was you know there’d be technology transfer from guess the experts in Crawley to you of course, over to Canada to try and form the basis over here. And at that time I think we’d already formed the company and how the DELEX contract was finally signed? Actually it was finally signed … Sorry I’ve got some stuff here… There’s the signature with the Minister of Defence.
TUCKER: Oh we don’t know those people at all. [chuckle]
SAMSON: [chuckle] It was reported in Philiscope and …
TUCKER: What was the date of that signing?
SAMSON: That’s what I was looking for.
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher) It was, eh, June 1983 that the Philiscope…
TUCKER: I was gonna say it was about a year after …
SAMSON: April the 29th ’83.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): April 29th ’83, yah.
SAMSON: And here are various presentations that were given on that day. There’s Clive Dolan. Remember Clive as the great foreman [sounds like].
TUCKER: And he slept with most of the people in Ottawa.
SAMSON: Yah that’s true he got there first. [chuckles] I don’t know whether these have any interest to you. He was, I think he was the marketing manager in the UK.
TUCKER: Yes he was
SAMSON: …initially…and the other guy.
TUCKER: He did a lot of work in CPF.
SAMSON: Now there’s the head of Philips Canada John Lusink. There’s Peter Jago. I’ve got a whole heap of things here. I don’t know whether you want to take any copies of these for the archives? There’s Aaron Rumstein.
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): Yah we would.
SAMSON: He was the, was he the legal guy? I think he was the legal guy for Philips UK. There’s Brian Manley the Director from Philips, Philips UK. So he was on the Board of Philips UK, Brian Manley. It was an interesting day and I tell you why because there were two things, two things going on. One was MEL giving this presentation to Jean Jacques Blais about the Electronic Warfare system what it did and why it was important. By the way Jean Jacques Blais was very well briefed and did a superb job on that day. Were you there Pat?
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): I was there that day yes.
SAMSON: He did an absolutely superb job. So we, there were two parts John Lusink wanted us to give them the smaller part. He did his best to make us the smaller part. And he did a presentation on the one that was the Philips in particular the landing system that Phillips was doing. I forget the name of it. And Jean Jacques Blais was effusive in his praise for MELs commitment to Canada setting up a company, negotiating this contract, recruiting people to do the R & D and the sort of future marketing. He was quite effusive in his remarks about all that we’d done. He was absolutely mean and horrible to poor John Lusink who said you know I’ve listened to your presentation very carefully. And I think it’s, it’s awful. I think
it’s full of holes like Swiss cheese. You’re not really committed to that system. You
aren’t spending any R & D money. You’re just taking the contracts and not putting anything back into the… So he was, he was very well briefed. Anyway so that was, I can leave these with you if want to….
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): We can…
SAMSON: I don’t know what you want to do with them but that was…
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): scan them.
SAMSON: You’re welcome to scan them yah.
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): Yes if maybe I could do that in slow time and get them back to you next week or something.
SAMSON: No huge hurry. Anyway that was the, that was the DELEX contract signature. Then we had DDH 280. And again I seem to remember Keith, correct me if I’m wrong going back and forth to Crawley and that was the Bruce Weir shoe thumping.
TUCKER: Who was the DMCS fellow that we were dealing with at the time? He went on to the submarine program. He was a real character. Went on to be, he was DMCS 6 I think it was,
wasn’t it that time, or 4?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): DMCS 6 would have been the one. Yea.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): After me?
TUCKER: He was the project manager for DELEX.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Dan Parks took over from …
TUCKER: pre-Dan Parks.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Luke Maglieri was the one
TUCKER: Luke Maglieri.
TUCKER: This guy went on and looked after the…
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): Dent Harrison?
TUCKER: …submarine. That’s the one, Dent Harrison.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Dent Harrison was not an EW guy. He became the project manager for the CASAP as it was called.
TUCKER: Nuclear submarines. No it was going…
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): The conventional submarine.
SAMSON: Dent Harrison
TUCKER: Now he was the fellow we were negotiating with while we were in Crawley.
SAMSON: Yes that’s right. Aaron Rumstein was in pole position and he was the technical guy.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Dent, Dent was probably posted to the UK at that stage.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): No, no he was the project manager for DELEX.
TUCKER: Actually I’ve got to be careful here because actually the project manager for CANEWS when we were doing one of the contracts was - spaceman.
SAMSON: Yah Marc Garneau.
TUCKER: Yah, yah.
SAMSON: Ah, yes.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Well he was DMCS 6. He would have been there.
SAMSON: Jim Dean.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Yes
SAMSON: He worked for Jim Dean.
SAMSON: But the first one I think you’re right was Dent Harrison.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Dent was actually the project manager for, PM for DELEX itself.
TUCKER: Right, right.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): …assisted by a fellow called Charlie Cartile.
SAMSON: and Marc Garneau would have been the PM for CANEWS. Is that correct?
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): He was. He would have been the boss of the PM for CANEWS.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Marc was there very early though.
SAMSON: No, he was for 280, he wasn’t there for DELEX. Marc came in later.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): “84…’84, ’85.
SAMSON: Yah. For TRUMP
TUCKER: We spent a lot of time with him negotiating.
SAMSON: You mean Crawley?
TUCKER: Yah. It couldn’t have been CPF because we negotiated that over there…
SAMSON: Now Marc came in for DDH 280, I remember that because remember we got him so angry he walked out.
TUCKER: Well one thing I remember about Marc, aside from the fact that he was actually going for the space role, was that he made an agreement with us one night and then reneged the following morning and I wasn’t impressed. [laughter]
SAMSON: No. In those days dare I say he was a fat smoker, he was overweight and he smoked a lot and he was, I mean anyone less like an astronaut you can’t imagine. [laughter] But he got so angry with us I can see it vividly in the Crawley boardroom, he got so angry with us and he didn’t take his shoe off like Bruce Weir did but he thumped the page, I think he shouted at me actually. He said you would argue anything and I can’t take it anymore and he stormed out. We were having a big dinner at that nice restaurant that night and we weren’t sure whether he’d turn up. In the end he turned up. All was well.
TUCKER: Most things were like that actually. We had pretty harrowing confrontations during the day and then a few beers at night and then everything was fine.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): And then the next morning.
SAMSON: God bless Aaron Rumstein who was very, you remember Aaron very smart guy, very cool headed, very logical. You know he took all the steam out of everything. He was tough but he was fair and the same with Bruce Weir.
SAMSON: Bruce Weir on the 280 program, again we went to somebody’s office and he took his shoe off and started thumping the table about how badly the negotiations were going and then he had a good laugh about it. So a bit of drama but there’s, there was some other, there was some problem on 280 towards the end of those negotiations and John Killick was on holiday on his boat and I remember John Knowles had to call him on his boat and say John we bumped into a problem. Can you please dock somewhere and call us? I can’t remember what the problem was but we explained to him what the problem was and he made a call to, I don’t know who and it
was all sorted out. But so that was sort of quasi-political intervention that we’d hit a roadblock on something I’m pretty sure it was 280 and we had to get John involved because otherwise the whole thing was going to go to hell. And he intervened and calmed somebody down somewhere and the contract went ahead. Is that enough on DELEX and 280 I can’t remember much?
TUCKER: The only thing we haven’t got into, very much is how the system broke down between ourselves and…
TUCKER: Westinghouse and Software Kinetics [SKL].
SAMSON: Right, very important.
TUCKER: CANEWS as a system was basically composed of three parts. It [First] was the receiver setup [subsystem]. It was derived from a UK Royal Navy system and compacted. There was a thing called a Data Transfer Unit which I believe Westinghouse had developed in conjunction with DREO. I believe DREO was involved in that.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): That is correct yes.
TUCKER: And two computers, the software for which I’m not sure of the origin. Wasn’t Software Kinetics but somebody had developed it or somebody was going to develop it and we retained, MEL retained the software. We subcontracted it to a company called Software Kinetics which was a bit of a young start-up at the time, but…
SAMSON: Dave Webster was the…
SAMSON: …president there.
TUCKER: And it’s debatable whether that was the right thing to do in the long term interest of MEL but in our defence we could not have built up a software department quickly enough I think to do it.
SAMSON: It was controversial but do you remember we tried to buy them?
TUCKER: Yes I do very much so.
SAMSON: We went to see Dave Webster and said can we buy you and basically …
TUCKER: But he would have entertained it, but I think it was you that said you didn’t think they would survive under the Philips ownership.
SAMSON: I think that’s probably true. They’d all left. Philips wasn’t an easy company to work for.
TUCKER: We did need to buy them because that was our…
SAMSON: I think there were two or three of them
TUCKER: Three of them.
SAMSON: at that stage. Yea and they were above some shop – little, little office above some shop.
TUCKER: Tom… ah, names have gone. Richie Graham was one of them; somebody Graham. There were three of them anyway.
TUCKER: but they did a very good job I have to say, a very good job.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Now when you went back a little bit before you started building CANEWS over here and before you had the contracts I guess and you had the Procurement Review Committee meetings and the selection for was made that MEL would be the prime contractor, were you given any commitments from the government at that stage that they would contract the DELEX with you? I mean how did you get that? That contract wasn’t competed.
SAMSON: I’m not sure whether we knew that or not, whether it was competed or not. I mean we, it was an opportunity and we were negotiating with the government. I guess at some stage during those negotiations we probably realized there was no competitor, but that certainly wasn’t clear to us at the beginning.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): What about for TRUMP, was that a directed, or was that competed or was that directed?
TUCKER: Well we did that …[missing word].
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Was it a contract with Litton or was it actually with the government?
SAMSON: That was with the government.
TUCKER: Yes it was; it was given to Litton. The system was given to Litton GFE.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): GFE. Right okay so it was a contract between MEL and the government and then GFE to Litton I guess.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): So was that put in during the TRUMP conversions?
SAMSON: Now we, we thought…
TUCKER: Well hold on a second let me back up on that because ATRHABASKAN had a system on and I visited it in Holland and I don’t think that had been converted at that time.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): The TRUMPs were converted, TRUMP the 280s were converted when in the early 90s?
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): No, ‘80s, ‘85 I think the first one went into Davie and I think it was ATHABASKAN.
TUCKER: Well it would have been around ’84 I’m gonna guess. It was after [exercise] Northern Wedding and I went over there because they had a lot of multipath problems with CANEWS.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): I know there was, HURON got their installation of CANEWS.
TUCKER: Was it HURON that was first?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): and MEL set up a conference between Bell downtown here and Halifax and Jim Wood, Admiral Wood was the Admiral at the time.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): and he came and he did a video, there was a video conference done.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): …from the ship and the Captain of the ship at the time was Jim King and I thought that was the first 280 installation of CANEWS.
TUCKER: I think you’re right and that was prior to the conversion of it.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Prior to the conversion,
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): prior to the TRUMP conversion and that would be, then prior to, so why would Litton be involved at that stage?
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): They wouldn’t been if it was in TRUMP.
TUCKER: No I don’t think they were.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): They could have been involved in, if there were later ones done during TRUMP they could have been involved with that.
SAMSON: Who was the prime contractor on TRUMP, did you say Davie?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering) and TUCKER: Litton.
TUCKER: Yah, we went down there a few times.
SAMSON: Who was the shipbuilder?
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): The shipyard was Davie.
SAMSON: Was Davie.
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): And they were a subcontractor to Litton originally.
SAMSON: They were subcontracted to Litton because I have a memory of a, there was a Scotch guy who was in charge running Davie, a Scotch guy what was his name?
TUCKER: Are you sure it’s not in Litton?
TUCKER: Because there was a Scottish fellow that was the PM for Litton.
SAMSON: Davie’s, is Davie in Halifax?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): No
SAMSON: Where’s Davie?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Quebec City basically.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Lauzon.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Lauzon, Quebec.
TUCKER: There was a….
SAMSON: I’m getting confused because I thought; who was the other shipbuilder?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): For?
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): CPF was,
SAMSON: No I wasn’t thinking CPF.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): There were two, there were two shipyards built the 280s…
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): …in the seventies. Davie built two of them and MIL in Sorel, Quebec built two of them.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): and eventually MIL in Sorel was acquired by Davie and that shipyard closed down.
SAMSON: Okay, okay no I think I must be thinking of CPF.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Davie, Davie did the conversion; no the ship work on the conversion of all four 280s.
SAMSON: Right okay, no I’m thinking of someone, I’m thinking of CPF.
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): CPF Saint John, John Shepherd was the,
SAMSON: John Shepherd, I’m thinking of CPF. Thank you ‘cause that’s another interesting story.
TUCKER: He wasn’t a Scot though was he, John Shepherd?
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): Yes.
SAMSON: Very Scottish accent is all I can tell you though.
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): Originally a Scot anyway.
SAMSON: He shouted at me on the telephone too, we’ll come onto that I guess. A lot of people shout at me; it’s not right.
TUCKER: Must be a reason for it.
SAMSON: Yah, who ran HDIL?
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): You mean Andy, Andy McArthur?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Andy McArthur, Andy McArthur was a Scottish.
SAMSON: No John Shepherd.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): John Shepherd?
SAMSON: I’m sure it was John Shepherd. Is there anything more on DELEX and 280? I know 280 was a little more controversial than DELEX. Particularly that’s where John Killick…
TUCKER: You mean from a contractual point of view or a business point of view?
SAMSON: Yah, yah negotiation point of view. We can come on to CPF if you like.
SAMSON: Aaah, Sperry in Great Neck [NY, USA]. I’m sure you remember our trips down there. They were the, I guess the prime contractors for, for the Electronic Warfare stuff.
TUCKER: I can take you back a little before that.
SAMSON: Go, go ahead please.
TUCKER: We actually bid both suppliers.
SAMSON: We did.
TUCKER: We went to Longueil [SCAN Marine, Quebec] frequently,
TUCKER: and we went to Great Neck frequently,
SAMSON: We did.
TUCKER: and we put our bids in to both of them. We should just mention that I suppose.
SAMSON: That’s very important and…
TUCKER: with RAMSES.
SAMSON: and the guy at, what was the other one?
TUCKER: Longueil? That was SCAN Marine
SAMSON: SCAN Marine
TUCKER: Signaal [HSA] was part of them by the way
SAMSON: The purchasing guy there when eh, when…
TUCKER: Don’t you confuse him with Hissing Sid will you.
SAMSON: With who?
TUCKER: Hissing Sid
SAMSON: Oh Sid; we’ll come onto Sid in a minute, the wonderful Sid. No, no the purchasing guy, what was his name, who was at the SCAN Marine joined MEL when they didn’t get the job.
TUCKER: Oh is that right?
TUCKER: I didn’t deal with the purchasing fellows at SCAN Marine I was purely technical.
SAMSON: I think there’s a picture of him somewhere in one of those…,
TUCKER: The purchasing guy we had…? Oh, I know who you mean.
SAMSON: This guy [looking at a photo]. You can see back of his head.
TUCKER: Yah I can see him here actually [looking at a photo]
SAMSON: Do you know that guy? No, no he left fairly soon. The back of his head. He was at SCAN Marine
TUCKER: Yah I know him.
SAMSON: When they didn’t get the job,
TUCKER: You sure he isn’t on here?
SAMSON: No, no he left a long time before there. He only stayed with us about a year. Anyway he joined us from SCAN Marine.
TUCKER: He came with me very often to Westinghouse when we were negotiating a contract with Westinghouse.
SAMSON: Right, right.
TUCKER: Can’t remember his name.
SAMSON: It’ll come to me. But we were back and forth with, to Great Neck, Sperry in Great Neck and the main guy we were negotiating with, do you remember him Dick Armalino?
TUCKER: Oh yes, he taught me how to throw an American football.
SAMSON: Yes you’d try anything.
TUCKER: On the beach.
SAMSON: Yes, I remember that. Was Peter Woodford there too?
SAMSON: We were kicking and throwing.
SAMSON: He was the purchasing guy and his boss was Sid,
TUCKER: I just remember him as Hissing Sid.
SAMSON: Sid was a, he had a lot of personal money apparently but he was the chief purchasing guy at Sperry in Great Neck, but he was the primary negotiator.
INTERVIEWER: Now this is after they had won the prime contractorship right?
SAMSON: Right. So we were in heavy duty negotiations. This was highly competitive.
SAMSON: We knew that. They, Sid and Dick Armalino said we’re talking to…
TUCKER: Electronica was one of them I remember.
SAMSON: Electronica, Italians,
SAMSON: There were some Australians. There were four. We were one of four I think.
TUCKER: I think there was a couple of American, or at least one American system was in it too.
SAMSON: And it was, it was really heavy and we all stayed friendly. We went out to dinner and drinking the night and we used to get in a huddle after our negotiations and say what did we learn today? What do we need to learn as we get these guys drunk tonight so we can… go back into negotiations tomorrow. Now that was, that was really, really tough because Sid, what, what happened was this. We’d reached an impasse. Sid stormed in one day and said you know you’re highest in price, you’re longest in delivery and you’re technically the weakest of the four. Why the hell should we deal with you? And he said I’m gonna start with the money. You’re screwing us on the money. I’m sure the, he made a big mistake. He said I’m sure when you supplied the CANEWS system to Canada they got much better pricing than you’re giving us now. So I said Sid you have a deal you call, he said I’m gonna call the DSS people in Canada and we’re gonna get this sorted out. That’s fine with us and we packed up and left.
Soon as we got back we called Bruce Weir down. Jim White was our financial analyst of all the costings and so on. So we got Jim up on the board and we got Bruce Weir here and we said Bruce you’re about to get a call. We need to take you through what we did for DELEX, what we did for 280 and how that relates to the pricing for CPF and we took him through and Bruce made copious notes and took copies of stuff and was fully briefed. So when Sid summoned him down to Great Neck he set, laid all the numbers on the table and he said no this matches exactly. Yah. It wasn’t exactly the same spec but it was pretty close. It’s a complete match to the pricing that we paid in Canada. So Sid was furious.
Anyway he called us back down and in the end he, we signed the contract and Dick Armalino took me on one side afterwards. He said Alastair how much did that cost us because we were still negotiating on price? And I said I don’t know what you’re talking about Dick. Anyway later I told him that we probably had another one, one and a half million dollars of negotiating slush in there if we really needed it. But that bad mistake by a purchasing guy, you’d think he’d know better to call our bluff and lose on it. End of discussions on pricing.
TUCKER: No I don’t think he really knew what was going on at the time because there was another event. I’m not sure whether it was with us or someone else but anything said was going between all these negotiations. They sometimes had three or four contractors in at the same time…
TUCKER: …that they were trying to deal with. Apparently he went into one meeting, I don’t believe it was us, Dick Armalino told us this. He went over, read the riot act in this meeting and Dick had to turn to him and say “wrong meeting Sid”.
SAMSON: He was a character though. Everyone knew it. He was just a character. And he used to come in and, do you remember how he used to mumble his words. Now don’t miss this I don’t know what I’m saying but this is what ……. he used to go on like this. Very strange man.
TUCKER: Well we had long heavy sessions with him on the specifications …I mean CANEWS was bad enough but RAMSES was worse.
SAMSON: Right, right.
TUCKER: Are you gonna get into that next?
SAMSON: Yah, sure.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Just before we do that I think you’re talking about these negotiations taking place during the time when CPF was in the production, the implementation contract.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Not the project definition contract.
TUCKER: Oh, yah must be.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): CPF had a def…, Project Definition phase.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Whereas they had two parallel,
TUCKER: But that was two.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Two parallel.
TUCKER: This was after they’d been decided.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): You bid to both?
TUCKER: Yah correct.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): So what we’re saying here is when CPF went into the Implementation Phase CANEWS had not been selected at that stage.
SAMSON: That’s correct.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): They still had the four or whatever it was in there,
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): and you were negotiating at that,
SAMSON: That’s correct.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): and they had gone in probably with the worst case scenario type of thing as far as price was concerned…
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): …to give a little bit of negotiating room.
INTERVIEWER: Right. Okay.
SAMSON: That’s quite right. Golly RAMSES that was another, I’m not sure I can remember much. I remember a lot about the CPF CANEWS. RAMSES was an odd one.
TUCKER: Well it was actually the first time we tried to sell RAMSES in North America.
SAMSON: Yes, yes and that was even more competitive.
TUCKER: Yah because we thought we might have got RAMSES on the 280 at one point.
SAMSON: Yes that’s right.
TUCKER: But then they decided not to put an ECM on a 280.
SAMSON: Yes RAMSES was a more difficult one.
TUCKER: Mostly because of the competition. I think Electronica,
SAMSON: That’s where Alan Sewards of DREO came in.
TUCKER: Yes and Paul Pulsifer [also of DREO].
SAMSON: Just coming back to me. Cause it was very controversial. The specifications, was it the right specification, would it really do the job, would it work? Although you can talk about that.
TUCKER: There’s one very fundamental difference between the two systems. It’s not classified anymore. RAMSES basically had one antennae on each side to transmit and one antennae on each side to receive. So consequently you were limited on where you could look at the same time. The competition, Electronica, had a phased array type system and they basically could steer six beams all the way around the ship but the fundamental thing was one camp saying it’s far more important to have six beams against the threat than it is to have two beams against the threat even if that technique is the strongest technique because they couldn’t do a thing called cross polarization. RAMSES had a thing called cross polarization which was very effective if used properly against a coherent radar which most of the sea skimming missiles
were. That was the fundamental thing that Alan Sewards was asked to give a technical dissertation on. Is it better to have cross pol or is it better to have a six beam system that might not be quite as effective but could go against more threats.
SAMSON: And John Killick was involved in that too. I think when we bumped into negotiating problems with Sperry on that one I think John Killick got involved as well and said and he almost, maybe he initiated Alan Sewards’ involvement to brief DND on this technical issue. I think that was Killick’s initiative because he was very supportive of setting up MEL in Canada because we were losing badly on RAMSES at that stage.
TUCKER: and more expensive.
TUCKER: And seemed to be less effective.
SAMSON: Less effective. So Killick and Alan Sewards briefing DND, talking to Sperry and that’s when I think John Shepherd shouted at me on the telephone. When that was all resolved and it was clear that the contract was coming our way he called me up and said Alistair, “get your hairy ass down here goddam you I’m told I got to fucking sign a fucking contract with you (excuse the language). Get here tomorrow and we’ll sign the damn thing.” He was angry. So I signed.
TUCKER: And the technical backup for that was Paul Pulsifer. He did the study between the two.
SAMSON: Right, yes.
TUCKER: And he was convinced before the study started. He and I have had long conversations about this.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Where was he at the time?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): He was at DREO.
SAMSON: Right, right. When did Arthur Self join? Was that after that?
TUCKER: Yea. He was after, he got involved first in CANEWS from a technical point of view with multipath; after it was on the 280s.
SAMSON: Was he working at DREO?
TUCKER: Who? Arthur Self had worked with Allan. Allan had put his name in.
SAMSON: That’s it yah okay, okay. Because we recruit, you and I went over to recruit him or to interview him and we took him to the Savoy for dinner.
TUCKER: I think he was already recruited [chuckle].
SAMSON: Yea, probably. But just backing up so DELEX is done, 280 is done, CPF is done, MEL is launched effectively with about 120, 130 million dollars of orders with at least an equivalent of spares to come. So MEL is launched. This is where it gets interesting politically. Philips in the UK because MEL UK came under Philips UK, as I learned later they basically because we were with this very nice business base we were looking to extend into other products and we got, who was that Air Force guy? Eddie somebody or other [It was Ed Swift] - it’s probably in there somewhere [referring to his folder of data]. We were looking
to expand into, I think you may remember this,
SAMSON: into other product areas ‘cause we had a good R & D team, we had good sales
marketing guys. We had everything we needed to build a significant defence, maybe other
product business, in Canada. So I tried with, who was it then? It was Bob Scott then to get
approval to do all sorts of things. But basic the message came back from the Philips UK board
via MEL UK that MEL is there to do one thing and one thing only, run those contracts make a
profit then we close you down. [thumping the table] I didn’t know that. Nobody had ever said
that, thought we were setting up a new business in Canada. I think it’s a scandalous waste. I
never knew that. I mean it’s one of the reasons why I left in whenever it was ‘80, ‘86.
TUCKER: Well we publicly committed to set up an ongoing business in Canada.
SAMSON: Yes. But apparently, according to Tim, Tim Venables told me this. He said the
financial guys, at Philips Head Office in the UK said your mandate is; “win those contracts, run them out, take the profit, close down.” [thumping the table]
TUCKER: Very smooth. [missing words]…their financial model. [chuckle]
SAMSON: Yah but it was a bad decision. I mean we had a great team of people, real
opportunity to build a business and as you know eventually in I don’t know when it was.
Saunders took over MEL. They bought them, no Lockheed later. Lockheed took over Saunders.
TUCKER: Well I was there. I actually called Bob Scott to ask if he was still for sale. [chuckle]
SAMSON: If he was still for sale. No Saunders bought MEL as I am very sure. Very shortly
after that Lockheed bought Saunders.
TUCKER: I’m not sure about that.
SAMSOM: That’s what John told me.
TUCKER: You may be right. You may be right.
SAMSON: And the price I think was one year’s sales about thirty, thirty two million dollars.
TUCKER: Yea. It wasn’t a whole lot.
SAMSON: Just bought out and then very shortly after that absorbed into Lockheed. You were
still there at the time?
TUCKER: I went to Saunders when you [Referring to Bowering] and I left the company.
SAMSON: Yes, uh hum.
TUCKER: And I left the company to replay [missing word] with work with Sanders and I was
there when MEL DSL became known to be for sale and Van Peline who was the Head of the
SAMSON: You left MEL to work for Sanders?
SAMSON: before that. Okay had forgotten that.
TUCKER: Van Peline was the head of the division that was going to procure if they did. He
called me and said do you know somebody in the UK? I’d like to know whether MEL DSL could
be bought separately from MEL UK.
TUCKER: So I called Bob Scott and discussed it with him and he said yah for the right price
we’ll let it go.
SAMSON: Yah well I think it was one year’s sales about thirty, thirty two million dollars.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): This is kind of interesting because I always understood that
Philips got out of the defence business and that’s why MEL was sold.
SAMSON: Philips were always uncomfortable in defence. You know they, I guess the Philips’
family didn’t really like being in that business, that’s true, but as far as MEL DSL were
concerned the mandate was milk the contracts; close it down.
TUCKER: Yah, but that’s a good point. Who was it that bought MEL?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): I think it was Thorne.
TUCKER: Thorne that’s right yah.
SAMSON: Oh in the UK?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Thorne EMI.
SAMSON: At the time. Now did that happen before or after the sale?
TUCKER: That’s what I’m wondering.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): They, I think they all happened at the same time. I think as I
recall Philips did plan to get out of the defence business and they took all of the companies and put them up for sale and Signaal was sold. MBLE [Philips Belgium] was sold. The U.S.
company was sold… ehm?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Magnavox.
SAMSON: Magnavox, right. What happened to the Philips research labs? Did they, were they
TUCKER: They still exist and I don’t know.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Don’t know. ???
TUCKER: That was at Horley, right?
TUCKER: Yea. Uhm…[missing words]
SAMSON: I think from an archive point of view and a sort of historical point of view the idea of a company coming in, milking some contracts and going away again is not grandeur, it’s not
TUCKER: No, it’s barely ethical.
SAMSON: Yah it happens a lot I know but it was, it’s very disappointing to me that, that was
the, and we were in the dark. Nobody told us that was the, that was the deal but according to Tim Venables that was from Philips Head Office.
TUCKER: You’re talking about the general history of CANEWS as well as MEL Defence
Systems right? Maybe it would be appropriate to talk about M Frigate.
SAMSON: You want to talk about M Frigate?
TUCKER: Yea. Do you remember the way we bid M Frigate with CANEWS and RAMSES in competition with a jammer and ESM from the UK?
SAMSON: I’d forgotten that. What year was that?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): That was probably after you.
SAMSON: I don’t remember that.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): That would have been in ’87, ’88.
SAMSON: I was gone in ’86.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Yes
TUCKER: Yes. We bid those two. You and I carried the proposals over to Holland and we
learned afterwards that they in fact technically liked our bids better than the UK but they went with the UK if I recall.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): No they didn’t, they went with ARGO, ARGO
SAMSON: Yah ARGO systems. That’s right.
TUCKER: But that was a very difficult time with MEL UK.
SAMSON: Was Bob Scott still there?
TUCKER and INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Yes he was, he was.
TUCKER: Peter Woodford was having conniptions about this whole thing. Who was the guy
who used to work for Peter Woodford?
SAMSON: Clive had left?
TUCKER: Clive had gone yah.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): What did Peter do?
TUCKER: Peter Woodford was Head of Programs.
SAMSON: Yea program management.
TUCKER: They just thought it was absolutely unbelievable that we would be allowed to put a
bid in to M Frigate,
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): But Bob Scott had agreed with that.
TUCKER: Yes he had.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): And but we were also MEL DSL was also supporting the MEL UK bid.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): And putting in a combined EW, and we put in or MEL DSL put in a bid with CANEWS and with RAMSES and yes.
TUCKER: [uninterpretable word]
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): There was another, let’s go back to another problem. There was
an RN program that CANEWS wanted to bid for and there was a defence scientist there, or
whatever they call them in the UK; the head of the organization that kept rejecting the CANEWS bid and I can’t remember anything more of that.
TUCKER: And so you should. There was a fundamental flaw in CANEWS.
SAMSON: Now you’ve said it.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Now you can say it right.
TUCKER: I can’t say what it is I don’t think. Is it still, out there?
SAMSON: It’s still in use isn’t it?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): No, no it’s not.
SAMSON: It’s been replaced?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): No the DELEX ships have all gone, the 280s have all gone.
SAMSON: What’s on CPF now?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): and I don’t know what’s on CPF, nowadays.
TUCKER: Anyway I’m not going to talk about that.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): And I can’t remember the name of that fellow in the UK that
was involved. The name, the name won’t come to me.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Was this a problem that was present in the prototype system and?
TUCKER: It was in the RN system and the CANEWS system. It was a fundamental weakness in
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): In the receiver not in the processor?
SAMSON: Have we answered most of your questions here Ken? You know, what was the role
of DREO; very, very important both in terms of technical support and political support. I’m just skimming through these [list of suggested interviewer questions].
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Very particularly Alan Sewards.
SAMSON: Alan Sewards was a super guy. Is he still alive?
TUCKER: Yes he’s in south of France.
SAMSON: I remember he went there.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): It was his early ideas that were the foundation of CANEWS.
TUCKER and SAMSON: Yes
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): So there must have been some bilateral type R&D type of…
TUCKER: Well didn’t he come from research in the UK?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): He did come from the UK but I’m just saying that there must have
been some continued communication between what was happening in the UK and what was
TUCKER: I don’t think there was data to give but what, I mean they took Abbey Hill UAA1
[ESM system], which was four separate receivers and combined them into two just miniaturizing
basically. They were essentially the exact same receiver.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Just, not that it has anything to do with MEL per se but during the
mid -seventies when the DELEX project was in its formative days it was called DELCA it was
destroyer life extension cost analysis. DND was looking to see how they could keep the existing ships operational without necessarily improving the operational capability, but just keep the current operational capability going until the CPF had been contracted and were coming on line because that was a slow process. As you know that that’s the way it turned out to be delayed and that. And at the time there was a project in the US Navy and that was called DEPEWS; it meant design to price EW system and it was a competitive competition between Raytheon and one of the other companies in the states, maybe Westinghouse, to design a new EW system for the Navy. And the people in DMCS 6 which had the responsibility in the Canadian Navy for EW engineering and that, they were unable to get any information on DEPEWS because it was a competitive thing and you had two competing designs and so they decided to go ahead and do their own if we can’t go American we’ll do our own and came up with the idea of CANEWS. Now where it went from that there and how Westinghouse got involved and that and how the prototype came I have no idea but…
TUCKER: Fundamental difference between the navy and the air force was huge.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Yah.
SAMSON: I think we’ve answered your question on who championed creating an indigenous
Canadian Naval EW capability. On the government side certainly John Killick and Alan Sewards
and I guess Jim Dean, I guess all those guys were very strong champions.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): But when, when the, you were talking about the CPF when I think
you said Alan Sewards was tasked with doing an analysis between the two systems and Paul
Pulsifer was involved and that,
TUCKER: Well Paul actually did it.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): and he did it and so they came up with their conclusions and they
would have recommended that to somebody. They would have presented that to somebody in DND.
SAMSON: Yes correct.
TUCKER: It was PMO CPF I think.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): And so was it, it was that type of decision I mean?
SAMSON: I think it was somebody in DND but I don’t know who it was in DND.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Was it an engineering decision or an operational decision? To, an
operational decision that you have a capability against a certain type of incoming missile versus the operational capability of having the ability to handle threats simultaneously.
SAMSON: Don’t know. I don’t know which of those it would be. I don’t know.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Who decided that?
SAMSON: Alan Sewards presented that to somebody in DND on John Killick’s instructions and
TUCKER: Could it been anywhere other than PMO CPF?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): I don’t know don’t know. I don’t know how they …
SAMSON: That, anyway, that decision was passed to Sperry.
TUCKER: Well here’s another fundamental question. What did Sperry actually put in their bid
that got them the prime contract? Which systems did they actually put in them? I believe they put CANEWS in, I don’t know what they put in for a jammer.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): I would believe they put in Electronica.
SAMSON: I think you’re right. Yes I think you are right.
TUCKER: But they were a pseudo integrated system.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Which CANEWS and RAMSES?
TUCKER: No Electronica.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Electronica.
TUCKER: CANEWS and RAMSES were absolutely not integrated systems. Electronica was to
some degree so maybe they put Electronica in for both.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Maybe they did, they could. Yah. Don’t know.
SAMSON: Well certainly they said during the negotiations somebody let slip that Electronica
was in prime position.
TUCKER: Yah. Well they said that quite a …
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Yea. Yea.
[Laughter. A few words missed]
TUCKER: Now whether even so…
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): I think thinking back again I think one of the reasons probably
MEL were able to win some contracts with CANEWS, RAMSES is the whole question of the,
the source coding programming, source programming, source coding and also the emitter
libraries. Very difficult to get from the United States; in other countries it’s easier to get but I hear that was a big factor. If you don’t have the source code how do you…
TUCKER: Well…. Yes.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): how do you modify how do you make this, how do you adapt it
to your own specific requirements.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): I think that made a great deal of, had a great deal of impact.
TUCKER: Well they’d already been burnt hadn’t they with the Air Force.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): The Air Force is very much, very much…
TUCKER: The Air Force always combined… They always bought U.S. systems, they did not get
the software but they did get the libraries, but they had no way of verifying the libraries.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Uh hm. The only solution is set up your own emitter library in a
generation centre, which we now have.
SAMSON: Why was Ottawa chosen as having MEL DSL? Very simply this is where the negotiations were and I was based in Toronto initially but…
TUCKER: You didn’t want to move did you?
SAMSON: No not particularly. No.
TUCKER: Why was that?
SAMSON: I was instructed. I was instructed. [laughter] Yah this is where the negotiations took place and you know it was happening almost daily at that stage so I moved from Toronto to Ottawa. That was the reason.
TUCKER: What shore trials for CANEWS? If there were short trials I wasn’t aware of them.
There were, some work was done at DREO. The only trials I’m aware of is the, what was the
uhm what was the DELEX, the first ship, that had…
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): TERRA NOVA?
TUCKER: TERRA NOVA, yah there were some TERRA NOVA trials. That had the UAA1 receiver on it with the Westinghouse processor. So where did that software come from? Who did that software?
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): I think Alan Sewards did it.
TUCKER: Okay so that was what SKL were given, they were given the DREO software.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): They were given the software were they?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): That was done on a Nova computer.
TUCKER: and it was transported to the Sperry UYK-20, or the [UYK-] 505 as it became.
INTERVIEWER: Transported or was it rewritten?
TUCKER: Ported or whatever; whatever.
SAMSON: I think we’ve answered your question about flexibility to promote itself globally as
an EW company; not very much. And MEL DSL’s vision of its future; we might have had a vision but Philips in the UK had a very different vision, i.e. no future.
SAMSON: Technology transfer? That was, I guess that was mostly people was it Keith, I mean…
SAMSON: How was the EW expertise from Crawley and the Signaal RAMSES stuff, that was mostly people?
TUCKER: Yes, well with RAMSES it was the technical data package.
TUCKER: You know I actually wrote some of the RAMSES software?
SAMSON: I believe you. You were quite clever in those days.
TUCKER: Those days. Uhm, CANEWS of course some of it was, well most of it was already
here. Just the receiver technology. We didn’t do anything with the receiver anyway.
TUCKER: But we did try to on RAMSES. On RAMSES we tried to put a DRFM in there. CAL; that was interesting.
SAMSON: CAL, yes.
TUCKER: Canadian Astronautics. This thing with RAMSES this capability to cross polarization
required it to have a thing called a digital, no sorry, required it to have a capacity to store the signal, delay it and then spit it back out again with modification.
TUCKER: and the way it was done with RAMSES was with a thing called a frequency memory
loop and it was literally a copper tube, very long copper tube so you put the signal in one end and you let it wind its way around and you put an amplifier at the appropriate point and it just keeps going around picking up more and more noise until it becomes unusable. So at the time that we were trying to sell or had got the contract for RAMSES a new product had been developed and DREO had tried to develop it called a digital RF memory. Paul Pulsifer and one other had their names on the patents for these things and we were trying to get an alternate to this frequency memory loop which is very expensive and a digital RF memory is the ideal way to do it. We went into Canadian Astronautics to see whether they would be interested in finding alternates for some of the components we had in RAMSES and we sat down with them one afternoon and this certain gentleman said you are our competitor we’re not interested in working with you.
SAMSON: Who was that?
TUCKER: He went on, Mike Gale.
SAMSON: Mike Gale.
TUCKER: Mike went on to run another EW company.
SAMSON: Right. He retired to California I seem to remember.
TUCKER: Did he? I don’t remember. He’s still around for what I knew.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Digital RF memories I suppose didn’t have much to do with CANEWS or RAMSES but very checkered history in trying to develop and produce these particular items.
TUCKER: They’re difficult. They’ve got easier now. They do them very well now. You don’t
see frequency memory loops any longer they’re [unintelligible words].
SAMSON: Have we answer most of your questions Ken? What do you think? Is there anything we …
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): You probably have.
SAMSON: …important we haven’t covered.
TUCKER: What about these displays are you interested in those? We brought the displays.
There’s a couple of things here, you talk about the differences between DELEX and TRUMP. I
think the only difference between DELEX and TRUMP was we put a lower band in there for TRUMP. I think there’s a Band Zero we called it, took it down to six hundred megs [megahertz]. I think we used the same display on both of those and that display came from CDC as it was; GD
Canada as it is now.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Is it the standard display?
SAMSON: It went on to become that.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): It was a version of the standard display. Yah, it was a bit
different, but the same…
TUCKER: The interesting thing was on CPF I think we even then we had a standalone CANEWS display.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Yes, yes.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): You know the trouble with these talks around the table like this,
little bits of memory come back to you but you never put the whole thing together.
SAMSON: Bill Virtue.
TUCKER: Yep, that was it.
SAMSON: Just came to me talking bits; he was the purchasing guy, who came from Scan whatever it was called.
TUCKER: Scan Marine.
SAMSON: Scan Marine to join MEL. He stayed for about a year. That’s that guy Bill Virtue
[looking at a group photo].
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): This one here?
SAMSON: That’s right.
TUCKER: He died prematurely you know?
SAMSON: I didn’t know.
TUCKER: It’s a funny story.
SAMSON: Tell me.
TUCKER: Funny story. Remember this guy with the back here? Where is he? This guy…
TUCKER: He came from the army. What was his name?
SAMSON: I remember the face, I can’t…
TUCKER: He and Bill Dawes were quite close together.
SAMSON: Oh not Buzz, Buzz Aldr…, Buzz Nixon.
TUCKER: I was gonna say Buzz Aldrin.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering) and others: Buzz Bennett.
TUCKER: Buzz Bennet put out this email to a lot of us ex-MELers saying Bill Virtue had died.
SAMSON: How long ago was that?
TUCKER: Oh years and years and years ago, probably twenty years ago. Anyway Ellen O’Dwyer called me, said have you seen this thing from Bill Virtue? I said yah; it’s a shame isn’t
it? She said I’m sure I saw him last week. Anyway she called him up. He was very much alive.
SAMSON: That’s funny.
TUCKER: Buzz Bennett had seen something in an obituary somewhere for a Bill Virtue and put
two and two together.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): and got five; something like that.
TUCKER: I have no idea if he’s still alive.
TUCKER: Westinghouse was very pissed about their relationship there withal, at the Engineering level.
TUCKER: I’ve been trying to remember the name of the fellow I dealt with, it’s not coming
back to me.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Dave something or other?
TUCKER: Yes it was Dave, Dave somebody.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Trying to remember as well. [Chuckle]. Dave Paines.
TUCKER: Dave Paines, absolutely well done. Yea, he never really got over that.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): But what MEL would get from, under the two projects CANEWS and RAMSES you’d get components from different suppliers,
INTERVIEWER: and put a system together,
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): and you had overall responsibility for that. You didn’t actually or
did you actually make any hardware out here?
TUCKER: No. We might have made some cable harnesses over the… It didn’t make any sense. No, we did second source a number of items from North America. The solid state amplifiers for
example we went to the U.S. company micro…. it’s gone.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): And overall you mentioned about the DELEX and the TRUMP and the two CPF contracts and the value, I think you said of a hundred, no…
SAMSON: It was about an average of thirty million dollars each contract, about a hundred and
twenty million in total.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): And then there was a follow-on CPF, the second batch, which would have added more. Those were separate contracts.
SAMSON: Well there were various spares contracts following on equivalent value about
another one hundred and twenty million. But I left in ’86 so I can’t give you any numbers after that.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): But well for the other contracts but of the major type of contracts
you could take that one twenty and say double it with spares,
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): you could add on the CPF the extra CPF, the six systems.’ Cause the first contract you got for CPF you’re talking about was only for six ships,
SAMSON: That’s correct.
TUCKER: Yes it would have been. That’s correct.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): and there were twelve ships eventually so another six.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): were done after you had left,
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): so you’re looking at another sixty million dollars there.
TUCKER: That’s right; Jim Williams negotiated that didn’t he?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): In part. So you’re looking at two hundred and forty, you know, three hundred million dollars.
SAMSON: It’s a big base for a business.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): for a base for business.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Yah.
SAMSON: And with skilled people. What a waste.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): And how many people would have been employed at MEL at its peak at that stage?
SAMSON: As I had left I think it was about one hundred and twenty.
TUCKER: Yes I was going to say that.
SAMSON: After that I don’t know. So, wonderful business base.
TUCKER: It was never capitalized.
SAMSON: That’s exactly right. Whether the Canadian government could or should have twisted
somebody’s arm in Philips I don’t know. Or whether the, as the contracts were being signed
maybe some clauses might have been put in that, political clauses about commitment to,
TUCKER: Well I mean let’s be frank, what were the EW opportunities in Canada?
TUCKER: There weren’t any,
SAMSON: very limited. You could…
TUCKER: So if you’re going to export, how do you export when your parent company or I mean it didn’t matter who it was. When Lockheed took over, Lockheed had their own EW systems coming out. Why would they promote a Canadian system?
SAMSON: Yes, yes.
TUCKER: Unless you got in to other areas, other than EW.
SAMSON: Which is what we wanted to do.
TUCKER: You couldn’t do it.
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): There was an IRB commitment presumably,
TUCKER: Yes, yes there was.
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): you had to meet.
SAMSON: It’s now ITB.
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): ITB yes.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): So you did have an IRB commitment?
SAMSON: Yes, yes we did.
TUCKER: Did we on the first two? I think we only did on CPF, didn’t we?
SAMSON: You may be right; I think you may be right. Yah I don’t remember it on the first two,
I certainly remember on the CPF.
TUCKER: How did we satisfy it on CPF?
SAMSON: Carefully. We went to see Terry Mathews amongst other people. I don’t remember…I remember the ITB people. They were good actually.
TUCKER: You know there is one BIG gap in my knowledge and that is how CANEWS actually
performed at sea. I went on I think it was ATHABASKAN wasn’t it the first one that got the
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): HURON
TUCKER: Oh was it HURON? HURON okay. I went on HURON in Amsterdam and I got very poor reports. Didn’t perform very well at all. There was no multipath capability in the system
which should have been built into the system from the very beginning. When you do an EW
software system you build in multipath protection from the start, but Himself, of course, wanted to reinvent the wheel and went on to do a study with Allan Sewards and I guess they finally put it in, but was CANEWS liked, did it work? Anybody know?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): That’s a good question. I don’t, don’t know. Allan Sewards eventually left DREO and he went to Lockheed and I know he used to complain at one stage that
CANEWS suffered from a problem that he called multiple emitters
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): That’s multipath, okay. And my understanding was that was not present in the prototype system
TUCKER: When you say prototype is that…?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): The ADM
TUCKER: on TERRA NOVA?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): The one that was on TERRA NOVA and that was…
TUCKER: I don’t know why it would have been any different.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): The software was different
TUCKER: Huh. They would have left out a whole bunch of it in that case.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): I don’t know. Apparently this was a problem.
TUCKER: When I was on the ship in Amsterdam, I had a couple of SKL guys that were there, I
actually had him patch the software with what I would have put in for some multipath and it
cleaned it up dramatically.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Yea I don’t know whatever happened to that sort of thing, I mean
you and I left at the same time and there were follow-up, there was a follow-on project for
TUCKER: Yes, I remember that. That was frequency range wasn’t it?
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): [I was] project director
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): I don’t know. Pat you know what it was about then.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): It was updating the processors really. The hardware and the
software in the processor. We were still stuck with the same old receivers.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Yea.
TUCKER: Well aside from that weakness of the receiver there is nothing wrong with those
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): No it was a matter of maintenance. It was getting to the point
where getting the bits and pieces to maintain them was getting to be a problem.
TUCKER: But I mean for a wide open receiver they were pretty good.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): It was age.
SAMSON: From a naval point of view is there any assessment done whether the system that’s
bought performed according to specs? Does anyone to a formal assessment like this?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): They used to I don’t know if they still do, but they would do
operational evaluations and technical evaluations. That used to be done.
SAMSON: Is there somewhere…?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): That would have been done on the ADM system I’m sure.
TUCKER: That must have been done on HURON too I would have thought.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Uhm, they might have done it there; yes they might have.
SAMSON: Because that would be interesting for the archives to know if that had been done and
if so what were the conclusions?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Yep.
TUCKER: And likewise RAMSES.
SAMSON: Likewise RAMSES.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): RAMSES even more and you might recall that DREO they did go out to build a test facility for RAMSES.
TUCKER: Well they also tested it over in Holland…
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): They did.
TUCKER: They tried it [Cross polarization was tried] across the sea [surface].
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Who did that?
TUCKER: Signaal did that.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Signaal did that. Yes, but I mean you really want the customer to
TUCKER: Yes, but it was marginally successful too. It’s still debatable that the cross-pol really does work in the real world.
SAMSON: Scary when you spend all this money…
SAMSOM: …and does it really work?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): [chuckle] Well, if you are the captain of a ship with 250 people
and you know a missile is coming in and that box over there you can’t see it putting out bullets or what have you.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Going back to what, what people thought of it I know some captains really thought a lot of CANEWS others said it was terrible. I’m not sure what the reasons were between the two for such a diversity of opinion.
SAMSOM: Sorry who thought it was terrible?
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Some captains thought it didn’t work other captains thought it was really good.
TUCKER: I think if you were…
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Talked to some…I know DEL…, a guy was a DELEX captain, Saint Laurent actually, now dead so can take his name in vain if I want – Jake Friel who really,
really had a lot of time for CANEWS.
TUCKER: Right. CANEWS can work well if you are out on your own away from the littoral,
but if you were in a convoy or close to shore I don’t think it would have worked very well.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): That’s when you get the problems.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): But CANEWS was also a radical change from what the ships had in the way of Electronic Warfare.
TUCKER: It was the only one wasn’t it?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Oh yes, yes so I mean and EW aboard a ship was a very closed knit group of people and you didn’t, you didn’t really, you were in your own little room and
whatever happened in that room they would tell you that there is something out there. Whereas with CANEWS you’ve got this on the display, you can see the picture, you could see what was happening. And then in CPF of course it was all integrated with the other, other stuff. So I, I can see that peop…, a lot of people would like that because they never had anything like that before.
SAMSON: Yea. And whether there is any political judgement on placing all these contracts,
spending all that money on a company that hop skippers at the end of it basically. Be an
interesting one to know too. But I guess politicians come and go so quickly that were… nobody left to make that judgement.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Nobody is probably around that could remember a lot of those things.
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): I suppose Industry Canada once the final report goes in for IRB’s
then they drop it and move on to other things. So and I don’t know if DND I guess they are
really worried about support-wise I was thinking that but I they’re not really you know the,
everything is sort of disconnected that The follow-on ships and things, they don’t relate it back I don’t think purposely.
Are there are any other questions?
SAMSON: Who won the EW battle, the Navy or the Defence industry? A sublime question
[chuckle]. I guess they paid us a decent salary for time keeps.
TUCKER: I can’t complain.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): It’s unfortunate that MEL did not get into the export business,
whether it was CANEWS or another version, MEL DSL did try as you mentioned Keith with the
M Frigate, also put a bid into Australia
SAMSON: Right yes.
TUCKER: I had a ticket to Australia once. That’s all I had was a ticket.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): [chuckle]. We had…it was a proposal written over a weekend and a lot of it went by fax from here from DSL here.
TUCKER: That was for CANEWS and RAMSES?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): You know I don’t know. I forget. I was down there.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): I suspect it wouldn’t be RAMSES because they were developing their own jammers.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): This would be in ‘88
SAMSON: Politically, something that has come to mind Ray Hessian was he dep…what was he deputy minister of? ‘Cause he got involved.
TUCKER: Supply and Services I believe.
SAMSOM: He was deputy minister?
SAMSOM: ‘Cause he got involved as well. I remember he flew over to MEL for a meeting and
said he had never played golf at Wentworth so we had to rent a helicopter and take [him].
SAMSOM: And who was DG, his DG was Brian Boyd, Brian…?
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Brian Boyd. There definitely was a Brian Boyd, but that was back in DDP time. Way back when.
SAMSOM: Any rate they both came and we all played golf at Wentworth and took him out to
dinner. But he… I don’t know whether he wanted to play golf or he was really interested in
MEL Electronic Warfare I don’t know. I remember he came over and we had to entertain him. I
think you are right maybe he was DSS, Deputy Minister DSS.
TUCKER: That was an expensive taxi.
TUCKER: Expensive taxi.
SAMSON: I don’t like helicopters either.
TUCKER: They were never meant to fly.
SAMSON: So there was certainly, there was certainly big political dimension I guess is what
I’m saying to MEL DSL.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): I’m not sure if you could do that to the same extent today.
TUCKER: Really. You think it changes?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Yea I think, I think, I think it does. I mean from what you have
said you sense there is a close relationship between some people like John Knowles and John
Killick and I don’t think that that’s…
TUCKER: Oh I think it does.
SAMSON: I… you surprise me Ken if anything’s changed in that respect
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Oh I think it, I think it’s… yea I think it is. I think it has.
TUCKER: You’re getting old.
SAMSON: Yes. [chuckles] Getting pure in his old age.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): [chuckles] I’ll talk
TUCKER: But there was certainly …how much was influence and how much was just interest in
these decisions is hard to know but certainly you could say that the political pressure, if that’s the right term, was put on Sperry in Great Neck to use CANEWS for sure and RAMSES secondly for CPF. There’s a lot of pressure to, if you like, support, as you say in here, indigenous Canadian industry in electronic warfare.
TUCKER: Now on the other hand you may be completely right and that’s why nothing is getting done.
SAMSON: You said it.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Yea.
SAMSON: So where are we, are we on the conclusion?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): We are on the conclusion, yea.
TUCKER: Number one I think absolutely are a current… They never were a cold war system. Just as relevant today as they were, maybe more so.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Right.
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): This is CANEWS and RAMSES you’re speaking of?
SAMSON: Systems such as.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering) and SAMSON: EW, EW systems.
TUCKER: EW is stronger now than it ever was. Number two, absolutely not. There never was a good reason. Canada couldn’t support their own capability.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Well this is where I somewhat disagree. It’s still a matter of
being able to understand the guts of an EW system and the only way you seem to be able to do
that is to build it in your own country.
TUCKER: Yes I don’t disagree with that at all. I just don’t…
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Technically
TUCKER: I don’t think Canada has the intestinal fortitude to do that.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Well, that’s true, yea.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): But in the eighties we ended up with three or four companies
working on Electronic Warfare. I mean different environments. There was, as you said, Sanders and they were set up to do air EW.
TUCKER: Yea, the [ALQ]-126B.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Then MEL of course
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): and CAL, you mentioned that.
TUCKER: But you see CAL wasn’t EW were they. They didn’t start that way. They were more
into space systems.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): I can’t tell you that. They were certainly were into space, yes.
TUCKER: They started doing an EW simulator…
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): simulator yes.
TUCKER: …and those folks left and formed…
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): ExCAL
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): and yea, eh…and there was EW Associates.
TUCKER: Consultants, yes.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Uhm and I believe they are still around
TUCKER: Yea, but not in EW.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): It’s still called EW Associates
TUCKER: It is, but all they are doing here; what, what they are doing now is security systems, comm security.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Okay, the…
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Telemus
TUCKER: That’s gone I think.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): It’s, it’s gone.
SAMSON: Telemus, yes he died a long time ago.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Trev Tucker. He had TACTIC TTI.
TUCKER: He was also a consultant.
SAMSON: Software Kinetics
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Software Kinetics.
SAMSON: Are they still around?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): It’s called Xwave.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): They were, they were taken over by Xwave quite a while ago. What if they are still doing anything like EW, I’ve no idea.
TUCKER: They took over Prior as well.
TUCKER: Prior went into there as well.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Okay, and there was another one, uhm, that was working at army EW. I forget the name of the company.
TUCKER: Was it before Thales?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Oh yea, yea. There was a fella from the army that had gone to the
company when you were still at MEL. Fella by the name of Ed Richmond.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Remember that name?
TUCKER: I do remember the name, yes.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Yea and EW CAC. Remember the…
TUCKER: EWCAC, yea.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): and there was another similar project. There were a number of EW projects, so, but would the, collectively would they warrant having a capability? Does
Lockheed have a capability anymore?
TUCKER: I don’t think so.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Here?
TUCKER: I don’t believe so.
SAMSON: In Canada or generally?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): In Canada
SAMSON: In Canada
TUCKER: I mean they are still doing some work on, for CPF, supporting CPF. I don’t think it
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): But the air side?
TUCKER: Oh, no. No the [ALQ]-126B is virtually done.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Like you said before, it’s getting information from the United
States is sometimes difficult and getting it from other countries is perhaps easier and CANEWS might be a good example.
TUCKER: I think that part of it may be getting a little easier because Canada has started to pay its dues in EW environment. At one point they were just sucking everything in and not really giving anything back, but I think they’ve been doing a lot more of that over the last twenty years or so.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): There was the, the Association of Old Crows at one time. Does that still exist?
TUCKER: I have no idea.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): They had monthly meetings. They would…
TUCKER: Yea, we all used to go to that.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Yea, I don’t know.
TUCKER: Three is an interesting one. [Referring to the interviewers’ written list of questions]
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Number three?
TUCKER: Yea. I don’t know that in my time there I could really add to that because that would be more in the support side afterwards. We really never did anything to the CANEWS receiver. It stayed the same other than being added on, lower bands and upper band later. I don’t think fundamentally it was ever changed. I don’t know what happened with the DTU Westinghouse part of it. The software of course was continuously…but that was with SKL and they just continued to do it.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): The DTU in CANEWS 2 was going to be completely redone.
TUCKER: Yea, I figured…
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): but, but whatever happened I don’t know.
TUCKER: I’ve no idea what happened.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): The development project petered out after I left DRDC. It was
still going when I was the Project Director for it. It was still going when I left but sometime after I left, retired, it just died. I’ve no idea why.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): But DREO had a lot of big plans for EW, for building a facility
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Well that’s, that is, that’s not DREO, it’s kind of a joint DREO
and the military section of DND if you like. They have a facility at DREO.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): It was at DREO, yes that’s, yea.
TUCKER: And four I don’t believe we ever considered [Referring to the interviewers’ written
list of questions] putting a UYK-20 into RAMSES, it was too slow for one thing.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Uhm hum, probably would have been.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): What did you have, a hardwired computer?
TUCKER: No, no it was a, it was a….
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Was there software inside?
TUCKER: Yea, oh yea. I’m trying to remember what it was. I honestly can’t remember what the
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Oh was it a …what’s the Dutch family of…
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): SMR
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): …SMRs
TUCKER and INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): SMR MU?
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): SMR MU was it, maybe.
TUCKER: That rings a bell.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): It could have been. It could have been.
TUCKER: Was CANEWS and RAMSES integrated? No f…ing way. Not at all. We thought about it a lot how we could have integrated the two and produced an integrated system much more cheaply. Never done though.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): So it depended on the human brain, did it to…?
TUCKER: Well yes there were no shared resources, I mean…
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Yes. You see it there and you see it there…
TUCKER: Yes, I mean you had a bus to share information, but when you’ve got an integrated
EW system you try to share resources like receivers, but this wasn’t. Mind you they were
entirely different receivers. RAMSES was a superhet, CANEWS was a … no RAMSES was wide open. They had MEL IFMs.
INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Was RAMSES?
TUCKER: RAMSES was wide open as well, yea.
SAMSON: Was it ever proposed to integrate them, seriously?
TUCKER: Uhm, yea I mean there were serious studies I think done within the company.
SAMSON: MEL, or?
TUCKER: MEL yea.
SAMSON: But the proposal was never put to DND?
TUCKER: No. No. It would have been very expensive.
TUCKER: Very. You know they were two fundamentally different systems.
SAMSON: Totally different origins.
TUCKER: Canada. Because RAMSES was joint wasn’t it? If the Royal Navy had bought RAMSES then Crawley would have been the lead, but the Dutch bought it so Signaal was the lead.
TUCKER: I still don’t know why, Crawley was doing the software for it.
SAMSON: But the cooperation with Signaal, technically, was okay?
TUCKER: Yea, yea it went pretty well. Melvin Pett was the main, uhm, leader of that.
SAMSON: What’s his name?
TUCKER and INTERVIEWER (Bowering): Melvin Pett. You must remember Melvin?
SAMSON: Yea, I remember that name.
TUCKER: He came across many times with RAMSES. In fact he was the expert they sent over.
[A story about an episode in New York City has been left out]
TUCKER: Who won the ultimate battle; Canadian Navy or the defence industry?
SAMSON: A draw?
TUCKER: I think they both lost.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): [laughter]. A draw! That’s probably like a lot of things in the
defence industry in Canada…
TUCKER: Yes, I think you are right.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): …we’ve looked at over the years.
TUCKER: CDC has done it right.
INTERVIEWER (Barnhouse): Nobody wins you know.
TUCKER: GD Canada has done alright.
INTERVIEWER (Thatcher): Well I’d like to thank everybody for coming; Alistair and Keith and Pat and Ken.
TUCKER: It’s fun reminiscing.
SAMSON: Yes, yes it’s quite something looking back.
ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
280 DDH 280 Class ships (Tribal Class)
ADM Advanced Development Model
CANEWS Canadian Naval Electronic Warfare System
CASAP Canadian Submarine Acquisition Project
CDC Computing Devices of Canada
CPF Canadian Patrol Frigate
CPF Saint John Saint John Shipbuilding Ltd
Davie Davie Shipbuilding Ltd
DELCA Destroyer life extension cost analysis
DELEX Destroyer Life Extension Project
DEPEWS Design to price EW system
DG Director General
DMCS Director of Maritime Combat Systems
DMEE Director of Marine and Electrical Engineering
DND Department of National Defence
DREO Defence Research Establishment Ottawa
DRFM Digital RF Memory
DSS Department of Supply and Services
DTU Data Transfer Unit
ECM Electronic Countermeasures
ESM Electronic Support Measures
EW Electronic Warfare
EWCAC Electronic Warfare Control and Analysis Centre
GD General Dynamics
GFE Government Furnished Equipment
HDIL Halifax Dartmouth Industries Ltd
IFM Instantaneous Frequency Measurement
IRB Industrial and Regional Benefits
ITB Industrial and Technical Benefits
MEL DSL MEL Defence Systems Ltd
MIL Marine Industries Limited (Sorel)
NDHQ National Defence Headquarters
PM Project Manager
PWGSC Public Works and Government Services
R&D Research and Development
RCN Royal Canadian Navy
RF Radio Frequency
RN Royal Navy
Signaal Hollandse Signaalapparaten Ltd (HSA) (now Thales Nederland)
SKL Software Kinetics Ltd
TRUMP Tribal Class Update and Modernization Project
UK United Kingdom