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Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV) and E-Systems

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LTV equipment directory

The LTV and E-Systems name plate appears on a variety of surveillance radios and accessories. The equipment usually has a sexy backlit, matte black faced front panel and funky tactile shaped knobs in bright colors. Rumor among the collectors is that LTV produced this equipment with parts purchased from subcontractors. In many cases this is incorrect.

Ling-Temco-Vought was one of the first industrial conglomerates. Part of their history is mentioned in "Welcome to My Conglomerate, You're Fired." Their airplane division received many contracts from the intelligence community and military services. They were a significant systems integrator for aerial electronic surveillance platforms. Not much is known about the uses of these specialized planes. You will not find them in museums, at least not fully equipped.

The National Cryptological Museum at Fort Meade, Maryland has an exhibit on spy planes with a few photos of LTV aircraft and a pair of Collins 515S-1 receivers and other radio equipment. They also display a few small modules with name plates from LTV Electrosystems and E-Systems.

LTV was CEI's largest non-governmental customer in the 1960s. The most common models purchased by LTV include the G175 series, G166 series, G917 series and a variety of SDUs, counters and accessories. All of these units were entirely manufactured by CEI or WJ and delivered to LTV for use in the surveillance systems designed by LTV. CEI memos refer to these units as items for "Temco" projects.

The G175C is a redesigned CEI 775 receiver. The G175J is a redesigned WJ-8730A receiver The G166C is a redesigned CEI 906 receiver. All of these radios were used on SIGINT missions, most notably in Vietnam. The G917 was a redesigned DMS-105A. The QRC-259 is very rare and not much is known about its design or intended use.

These radios look awesome when operated in a darkened place. Grimes lights illuminate the panel and are generally powered externally by 28 V, presumably from the same control line for the cockpit illumination. The equipment is very rare, especially with nice front panels. The black paint over the plexiglas panel mercilessly shows defects when backlit. Documents and information on LTV equipment is extremely scarce. Fortunately CEI and WJ manuals can be used to service the units made by these companies.

The G175 series includes many radios from several different manufacturers although CEI and Nems-Clarke appear to be the most prevalent.

The G917-1 is basically identical to the WJ DMS-105-1, with the original Nixie tube frequency indicator replaced by an LED counter.


more examples to follow