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Autonetics was a division of North American Aviation. Its 188-acre facility in Anaheim, California, with 36,000 employees, was the city's largest employer. Autonetics developed aerospace technologies that guided submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles.[1] Through a series of mergers, Autonetics is now part of Boeing.[2][3]

General Background of the Anaheim Facility[edit]

Autonetics originated in North American Aviation's Technical Research Laboratory, a small unit in the Los Angeles Division's engineering department in 1945. In 1946, the laboratory won an Army Air Forces contract to develop a 175- to-500-mile-range glide missile. The work and the lab expanded, so that by June 1948, all of the Aerophysics Laboratory was consolidated at Downey, Calif. The evolution of the Navaho missile program then resulted in the establishment of Autonetics as a separate division of North American Aviation in 1955, first located in Downey, California and moved to Anaheim California in 1963.[4]

Autonetics included the Navigation Systems division, designing and producing inertial and stellar-inertial navigation systems for ships, submarines, missiles, aircraft and space vehicles.[5] Other products included alignment devices and attitude reference systems for missile launchers, artillery, orientation, land survey, aircraft and missile-range ships.

The Autonetics Data Systems division developed data-processing systems, general-purpose digital computers, ground support equipment, control systems and telemetry systems. The Electro Sensor Systems division built multi-function radar systems, armament control computers, data and information display systems for high performance aircraft, and sensor equipment.

The radar systems included the R-14 and F-15, which were multimode, monopulse systems. This family of radars was termed NASARR (North American Search And Ranging Radar.) The R-14 system was installed in the USAF F-105 Thunderchief and the more advanced F-15 system with Terrain Following capabilities was developed for the USAF F-104 Starfighter which were also used by NATO, MAP, and the Canadian Air Force. Both radar systems allowed Target-On-Time impact capability with a high degree of accuracy. The R-14 and F-15 systems used (pre-solid state) electronic vacuum tubes in their designs. Both systems were developed, built and tested at the Downey, Slauson Avenue, and Anaheim facilities. Autonetics ad in Time Magazine, 1957.

Autonetics built a portable office computer and ranging radar for trainers and fighters and was responsible for the guidance and control system for the Boeing-built Minuteman missiles. The division ultimately produced the Monica family of microcomputers, the D-17B Minuteman I computer, and the D-37B [6] and D-37C Minuteman II computer, in which microminiaturization reduced weight by two-thirds. Autonetics also developed and tested flight programs for the D37D Minuteman III computer.

Milestones also included the first airplane flight of an inertial autonavigator (XN-1) in 1950 and the first flight of an all-solid-state computer (for the Navaho guidance system) in 1955.

The 1966 Autonetics DDA integrator was the first MOS large scale array (LSA) using four-phase logic. After producing the DDA and other MOS-LSA circuits, the people involved decided to design a general purpose computer suitable for navigation (sometimes called the MOS GP computer). The Autonetics D200 computer is built using MOS LSAs. [7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carpenter, Eric and French, Sally. "Huge monument honors aerospace workers," Orange County Register, Aug. 3, 2010. (
  2. ^ The Story of the Boeing Company, Bill Yenne, Zenith Press, page 134
  3. ^ Cole, Jeff, and Steven Lipin, "Boeing Deal Will Strengthen Company: Acquisition of Rockwell's Aerospace and Defense Operations Is Announced," Wall Street Journal, August 2, 1996, p. A3.
  4. ^ "North American Aviation ... Autonetics". Boeing. Retrieved April 11, 2011. 
  5. ^ Carpenter, Eric and French, Sally. "Huge monument honors aerospace workers," Orange County Register, Aug. 3, 2010. (
  6. ^ "FLIGHT International, 20 February 1964, p289 Article "Digital Computers for Aircraft"". Flight Global Archive. Retrieved June 6, 2011. 
  7. ^ C. F. O'Donnell. "Engineering for systems using large scale integration". afips, pp.867, 1968 Proceedings of the Fall Joint Computer Conference, 1968
  8. ^ R. K. Booher. "MOS GP Computer". afips, pp.877, 1968 Proceedings of the Fall Joint Computer Conference, 1968 doi:10.1109/AFIPS.1968.126

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