AN/FSQ-8 Combat Control Central

The AN/FSQ-8 Combat Control Central was a United States Air Force computerized command and control system. Several of the centrals were used in the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) air defense network for Cold War ground-controlled interception to give "each combat center the capability to coordinate defense for the whole nation".[1] Each AN/FSQ-8 (“AN/FSQ” derives from “Army-Navy / Fixed Special eQuipment”)[2] was a smaller variant of the AN/FSQ-7 Combat Direction Central with less equipment since the Q8 received processed air defense data from AN/FSQ-7 centrals at Direction Centers. The AN/FSQ-8 centrals were housed in eight[3] 3-story[4] SAGE Combat Center (SCC) buildings similar to the Direction Center building (some were colocated) and the Q8s allowed "supervision of the several sectors within the division."[4] The Combat Centers "forwarded the divisional air defense status to" NORAD[5] (initially at Ent AFB in 1957, the Chidlaw Building in 1963, and the Cheyenne Mountain Complex in 1966).

Differences with the AN/FSQ-7

Differences between the AN/FSQ-7 & -8
Combat Direction Central Combat Control Central
Computer program: Direction Center Active (DCA)
Control Center Active (CCA)[6]:165
(no ATABE fire distribution algorithm)
Long-range Radar Input (LRI) & consoles[4] "not included"[6]:159
Gap-filler Radar Input (GFI) "not included"[6]:159
Ground-to-air (G/A) message transmission not included[4]
Automatic Initiation Area Discriminator[6]:151 not included
Core Memory Bank 1:
65,536 words
4096 words
1st test memory location:
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  1. Winkler, David F; Webster, Julie L (June 1997). Searching the Skies: The Legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program (PDF) (Report). U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories. p. 51 (pdf). Retrieved 2012-03-26.
  2. Dyson, George (April 1997). Darwin Among the Machines: The Evolution of Global Intelligence (1 ed.). Basic Books. p. 179. ISBN 0-7382-0030-1.
  3. SAGE A/N FSQ-7
  4. 1 2 3 4 "The function of the Control Center in solving the air defense problem is to combine, summarize, and display the air battle picture for the supervision of the several sectors within the division." (p. 7)
  5. Belzer, Jack (September 1, 1975). Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology (Google Books). Volume 2. CRC Press. Retrieved 2012-07-16.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 Theory of Programming for AN/FSQ-7 Combat Direction Central and AN/FSQ-8 Combat Control Central (PDF) (Report). IBM Military Products Divistion. April 1, 1959. Retrieved 2012-06-25. "Because the AN/FSQ-8 receives reports on processed air defense data from AN/FSQ-7's, the discussion concerning radar data does not apply to this machine, only to the AN/FSQ-7.'' (p. 153)
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