FYQ-93 Computer System (1983-2006) - A Computer System built for the Joint Surveillance system (JSS) by the Hughes Aircraft Company. The system consisted of a central computer interfaced with a number of display consoles and interfaced with external radars to provide a Region/Sector display of air traffic.
The need for the FYQ-93 System became apparent in the 1970s when the SAGE System became technologically obsolete and logistically unsupportable. The FYQ-93 system was conceived and specified in the late 1970s. The system was manufactured and delivered in the first half of the 1980s and by the end of 1984 all nine facilities were in place. Enough of the system was in place in mid 1983 for the SAGE System to officially shut down and the Joint Surveillance System (JSS) became the air defense system of the United States and Canada. The large network of military long range radar sites was shut down and a much small number (43) of FAA Joint Use sites replaced them.
Internally the FYQ-93 system included a Hughes H5118ME Central Computer, and four Hughes HMP-1116 Peripheral computers. The software was written in a proprietary version of JOVIAL known as JSS JOVIAL. The system was updated over time to change tape drives to disk cartridges and single-line printers to multi-line printers. The memory was expanded at least twice to the system maximum of 512,000 bytes.
In 1991 the GAO audited the FYQ-93 system and found that it could not process the current volume of air traffic and new sources of traffic were being added that would further tax the system in the future. The inadequacies were being compensated for by reducing the number of tracks that external systems could input. A radar system that could generate 250 simultaneous tracks might be limited to sending 50 of those tracks to the FYQ-93. The report also documented the attempts to upgrade the system memory but found that the system architecture did not allow the expansion of the track storage memory. The report also found that the Air Force did not know the track capacity of the system and had no plan to manage the track capacity.
The Ultimate Test
Between 1994 and 1997 the responsibility for the maintenance and operation of the CONUS FYQ-93s was incrementally transferred to the Air National Guard of the States where the facilities were located. The whole system was periodically exercised with planned simulated attacks and all seemed well. A simulated exercise was scheduled for the morning of 11 Sep 2001 (911) in the NE-SAOC at Griffiss when the first air attack on the United States since World War II started to unfold.
Four commercial aircraft were hijacked soon after takeoff, their IFF beacon transponders were turned off and the planes were flown by the hijackers via circuitous routes toward preplanned targets, two toward the Twin Towers in New York, one toward the Pentagon and the fourth possibly to the White House or the Capitol. The 911 commission compiled a minute by minute record of what happened at the NE-SAOC on that day. Three of the planes hit their intended targets and one was deliberately crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
In the aftermath of the 911 attack the FYQ-93 consoles were supplemented by the addition of a number of NORAD Contingency Suite (NCS) consoles in support of Operation Noble Eagle. The transition to the next generation Air Supremacy System, Battle Control System - Fixed, (BCS-F) with the (FYQ-156) computer system began in 2005-2006.