Project 863  

Budd Rice

Budd Rice
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In 1963 Budd Rice was assigned to Project 863 as a Hughes Aircraft Company (HAC) radar and computer engineer. He provided hardware and software maintenance along with EWO training. In 1967 he was lead engineer for Rivet Amber's (RA) radar modifications at LTV in Greenville, TX. At completion of radar modifications, Mr. Rice was assigned as team leader for Hughes Team-1 and lead engineer for field support of RA's phased array radar.

Hughes Aircraft Co. – A brief history
While Hughes Aircraft was formed in 1932 and was solely owned by Hughes Tool Co., the company that built Rivet Amber's radar actually came into existence in 1948.

In 1948 Howard Hughes created a new division of the company, the Aerospace Group. Two Hughes engineers, Simon Ramo and Dean Wooldridge, had new ideas on the packaging of electronics to make complete Fire Control Systems. Ramo and Wooldridge, having failed to reach an agreement with Howard Hughes regarding management problems, resigned in September 1953. They founded the Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation, later to join Thompson Products to form Thompson Ramo Wooldridge (TRW), another aerospace company and a major competitor to Hughes Aircraft. The Aerospace Group became the foundation for the Hughes Aircraft Co we all knew. In 1953 Howard Hughes donated the Hughes Aircraft Co (HAC) to the Hughes Medical Institute, a non profit entity located in Miami. The Medical Institute received the profits from HAC to conduct medical research. Hughes Aircraft grew to several Groups, Radar Systems Group (RSG) El Segundo, CA, Missile Systems Group (MSG) Conoga Park,CA, Space and Communication Systems Group (SCG) El Segundo, CA, Electrooptical Systems Group (ESG) El Segundo, CA, Ground Systems Group (GSG) Fullerton, CA and Hughes Research Laboratories  Malibu, CA. Hughes Corporate Offices were located in Culver City, CA. The Rivet Amber radar program was awarded to the Ground Systems Group, Fullerton , CA, because of their capability to build high power phased array antenna radar systems.

In the mid 1980s the heirs to Howard Hughes sold Hughes Aircraft Co. to General Motors. General Motors formed GM Hughes Electonics consisiting of, at least, Hughes Aricraft Co., Delco Electronics and, later, Direct TV. In the early 1990s GM began selling off Hughes Groups individually. Raytheon purchased  MSG, and Ground System Groups and, I think, RSG and ESG. In 2000 Boeing purchased the last group, Space and Communication, and Hughes Aircraft as a company ceased to exist. The only remaining entity was DirectTV. 

Project 863 – Lisa Ann/Rivet Amber Radar
Hughes signed the fixed price contract with LTV in August 1963 to design, build, test and deliver a High Power Phased Array Antenna Radar to LTV Greenville, TX in 12 months for 12 million dollars (I could be wrong about the time frame and dollars).  A very difficult task at that time, 1963, and would be impossible to do in today's bureaucratic environment.  At that time Hughes was just a teenager and most of the Hughes management consisted of young engineers who believed they could do the impossible. Since the contract was signed in August, the 8th month, of 1963 the Top Secret Radar Program was named Project 863 and Hugheshites refer to the RA program as 863 to this day. The Program manager for 863 was Al Jicha and the Technical Director was Ed O'Brian, two extraordinary men. Al went on to become a Senior Corporate Vice President for Hughes and Ed O'Brien became a Corp. VP and Division Manager. As I recall Hughes was late in delivering the radar. If memory serves me correctly the radar was delivered and installed on Lisa Ann and ready for flight test in 17 months and over budget. I don't recall if I ever knew what the total cost was to Hughes. The experience Hughes gained from Project 863 served them well on many programs that followed.

1966 -67
The following are Hughes people that supported RA on Shemya:
Don Hoagland, Jack Rainaldi, Walt Stark, Frank Davies, Ed Rados, Norm Anderson, Ken Pugh, and Budd Rice
Click Here for Special Order TB-25 (LTV & Hughes Personnel - Shemya)

Budd Rice
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Team Rotation - March 1969
Left to Right:
Jerry Wirz (HAC)
Logan Delp (HAC)
Mert Canady (HAC)
Dick Maddux (HAC)
Bob Kubo (HAC)
Bob Seymour (HAC)
John Fader (HAC)
Budd Rice (HAC)
Jim McConnell (HAC)
Tom Simundich (Litton)

Kingdon R. Hawes (Webmaster)
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