SAGE was almost an unbelievable application of technology in the late 1950’s – science fiction became reality – to understand how truly groundbreaking SAGE was we need to take a little time to to understand what was being utilized prior to it.Pretty much state of the art prior to SAGE . . .
The British utilized radar well against the German Air Force during the Battle of Britain – the issues was the I/O process – the information from the radar had to go to the decision makers – then be presented in a format that could be visualized – the “IN” part of our I/O process – 5 minutes BEST time for the information – heading change – split in formation – numbers of aircraft etc. to be laid out at his feet – literally – you stood on a “balcony” of sorts and looked down on the plotting as pieces were shuffled around on it!!
Then a decision is made then it has to be passed out to the various commands – the “OUT” part of our I/O process – and another 5 minute minimum – cycle time – “I/O” – one cycle every ten minutes. Now that’s not quite as bad as it sounds – for a number of reasons – you pretty much know where they are coming from – you just need to fine tune that information and present it to the decision maker(s) – Britain is not the largest country – but the point was to see where they are headed then stack fighters in front of them – and it worked. For a really neat read go HERE : History of the Battle of Britain – a neat site from the RAF Museum – and you should crawl through their MAIN SITE as well – worth the time – and if you wish to go tripping with “Alice” – you can go down the rabbit hole Radar in World War 2 Wiki page HERE . . . have fun and I’ll see you when you get back – LMAO!!
So . . . where were we?? – We had radar that was continually improving but the I/O side of the equation was not keeping pace – and not a lot of pressure until the
democrats communists popped their first nuke on August 29, 1949 – then everybody basically went into ” OH SHIT! OH MOTHER! OH DEAR! ” mode. Full. Blown.
It is one thing to track inbound air traffic from a general area that is moving at 225 knots when you have little to no civilian traffic in the mix – when you add the size of the North American continent and the large number of civilian aircraft that took to the skies following the end of WW2 AND then enter the jet age – it simply overwhelms the “manual” system – just the amount of information that needs to be processed precludes doing it manually . SAGE took the information from many sources and provided that information up and down the process chain . The airlines entered flight information into SAGE – meteorological information was factored into the mix – what ADC base with what fighter/interceptor groups were on alert – if the contact was far enough “off the beaten path” – either geographically or time wise – really quite a laundry list – the decision maker had all that information available in a format that could be understood and a decision made and action taken almost immediately .
As fast as I can hack this stuff out I will give you a general overview of SAGE and the “Ultimate Interceptor” – the F-106 – and yes I know that this stuff is out “there” but do you really want to spend the next 27 months sorting through it and trying to make some kind of sense out of it ?? And speaking of the “Ultimate Interceptor” – here is a pic of a Cali ANG F-106 firing a Genie air to air missile – and yes they could be fitted with nuclear war heads – having one of those go off in your face could ruin your day !!
Have Fun! – Run the Gun! – and remember – Fish Heads are Cheap!!