Saturday, September 6, 2014

#112) A Letter For All Libravets From Grant Corcoran

Forward: I recently received the following RSVP letter from Grant Corcoran (Marketing) in response to his invitation to the 2014 Librascope Reunion on November 1st:


I will not be able to attend the 2014 reunion of the Libravets.

That said, I was hoping that I could somehow or another add to the event by filling in what transpired post 1996-2000 in Glendale and recapture some of the proud contributions to the Librascope legacy!!

This legacy continues in Manassas, Virginia under the banner of Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Trainers – LM MST (as it is known today).

To be candid, I don’t claim the same pedigree to be a real Libravet, but I was taken aback by the notices of Jerry Deitz’s and Chuck Steele’s untimely departure from this world, and chastened by the coverage of Harold Klein’s too quick demise. I will always remember the others that preceded them such as Ernie Pool and Bill Hudson (friend and mentor, both).

My days in Glendale were truly memorable!!

I am hoping to try and fill in a possible void in the Libravet history book as a testament to how brilliant these folks were.

I came to Singer-Librascope in late 1987 from the Librascope spin-off, OTI, based primarily on the positive outlook that was presented by Ernie, of the future and that if I paid attention and was an apt pupil, with Walt Picker’s blessing on the increased travel budget I could learn international business development from the MASTER.

Some of the VETS will recall those heady days of Australia Mk 1 FCS or a knock off of it for Canada, or there may be folks that recall the Mk2 for the “Gal” class in Israel or the Mk 2 for the T209’s in India or the enthusiasm for the new partnership with Rockwell for the Collins class (too bad Jim Drugan isn’t here to vector LM into a major role on the replacement for Collins).

The legacy of Maury Center’s empire of Surface Combatant Underwater Fire Control Systems Mk113/114/116 and Submarine fire control systems Mk117 and 118 and Tomahawk VLS, etc. etc., was to undergo, from this vantage point, a major transformation as the USN and industry transitioned from LA class SSN-688’s and Trident SSBN’s into Seawolf and beyond.

What happened at Librascope as it embarked on the BSY-2/Seawolf program was, in no small way, the Alpha and the Omega of today’s submarine combat systems.

It was the end of an era and the beginning of the future of less dependence on analog solutions and shock hardened hardware to Open Systems architecture and software re-use and structurally integrated enclosures (SIE’S).

I can recall how the senior management, Roy Bartlome, Hank Pinczower, Chuck Steele, Ernie Pool, Bill Hudson, Ed Arnold, Ralph Simon, Carl Sorensen, Jerry Beushausen, and others adapted to the challenges raised almost incessantly by Frank DeBritz (remember him?) and Admiral Volgenau (also recently departed) as to why the Librascope BSY-2 team was behind schedule and over budget.

I often thought that the conference room in the main building needed to be thoroughly cleaned and fumigated following some of the more contentious program reviews during those tumultuous days.

I do recall, one lighter moment from those days ….

Ernie Pool, after being grilled by a zealous young O-6 as to how Librascope was able to maintain the appropriate security for the BSY-2 combat system in the presence of Australian, Indian, Israeli, and Canadian personnel in the Butler building compound in the parking lot, provided a reasonable and logical explanation of the security measures.

On the tour of the facility the Captain, not quite satisfied by Ernie’s answer, broke ranks from the tour and inquired of a sleepy guard as to HOW THE GUARD WAS SURE HE (the O-6) WASN’T A FOREIGNER???….. TO WHICH THE GUARD REPLIED…… WELL… YOU DON’T HAVE AN ACCENT!

Poor Ernie!!

From there through the Bicoastal days, the controversial Paul Bilzarian, and the ultimate takeover by Loral in lieu of Rockwell. You may recall how close we came to being part of Westinghouse (and now being part of Northrop Grumman) during the sale in Tampa.

I can’t but think things would not have worked out as positively as they did!!

By the way, remember Librascope helping Paramount directors get the sets “real” during the filming of RED OCTOBER combat control center? The black consoles (based on Mk 2’s from India) were on the bad guys boats.

I seem to recall Bilzarian referring to Librascope as the Red October division as he spun off other Singer assets but held on to Librascope until the very end.

Then reality set in with the cancellation of Seawolf and other events.

With Loral buying the IBM Federal Systems and with it the IBM legacy in Manassas, VA, the die was cast as to the future of Librascope as an independent operation. On the wrong side of history with the cancellation of BSY-2, the departure of Librascope from Glendale was certain, just not when.

However, there was during the transition and is today a continuing monument to Librascope and the Glendale and Newport office team of weapons experts, headed by Joe Fletcher, et al, teaming with our new best friends in Manassas, in winning the competition over Hughes/Raytheon to integrate the Tomahawk missile and Tomahawk Weapon Control System on UK SSN’s in 1995-7.

This legacy continues today with the new Astute class of SSN’s, as well as the Trafalgar and Swiftsure boats still in service.

The Fire Control and Weapons System talent transferred from Glendale, represented in part by Larry Fox, the Derksen brothers and others who were ably augmented by Herr Doctor Klein’s classes, to the uninitiated, in the proprietary Librascope Maximum Likelihood Estimator (LMLE) for target motion analysis (TMA). LMLE is still the basis for LM’s offerings in Fire Control Systems and Weapons Control.

When this talent pool was merged with the sonar and combat system expertise that was resident in Manassas, it was the building block for successful campaigns in Spain (new submarine complete integrated combat suite), Brazil (combat system upgrade for Mk 48 on their T- 209’s), the UK (modernization of SSBN’s sonar suite, Canada continual combat system upgrades on the Victoria class, Netherlands FCS upgrade for Mk 48 on Walrus class, and several others.

Today LM MTS is the provider of the combat system for Virginia SSN’s and has been since 1996.

LM also serves as the prime integrator and supplier of the Acoustic Rapid COTS Insertion program (ARCI) which is upgrading and future proofing the sonar and combat systems on all SSN’s, SSBN’s and SSGN’s.

LM MTS is still pursing international opportunities.

Primary interest is the replacement for the Collins class in Australia (albeit without the support of the “A” team of Drugan, Pool and Hudson)

There are several other opportunities now that the funding is being restored to pre- recession percentage levels of GDP in countries of interest.

Sadly, there are only a few Glendale transferees still involved at LM, but the bedrock contribution of what evolved over the years between Sonora and Western avenues continues and remains alive today!!

On a personal note….

I recently retired from LM MTS.

I am now head of Corcoran Advisory Group (marketing and strategic business development consulting) based here in Virginia…. (

I hope you guys have a great reunion!!

Best regards,