Combat Information Center (CIC)
The purpose of the Combat Information Center is to Collect, Display, Evaluate and Disseminate information as the nerve center of the fighting ship.
COLLECT the information available to the ship through all and any of its sensors (radar, sonar, ECM, radio, lookouts, etc.)
DISPLAY the information on plotting tables such as the DRT, NC2, Status Boards, etc.
EVALUATE the information to classify the target as friendly, enemy - time of closest point of approach - or attack - and prepare to recommend appropriate action.
DISSEMINATE that information to the appropriate level.
The Status Boards met the DISPLAY function of CIC as they could show anything a person wanted them to show. The basic function was to show what was happening in the vicinity of the ship in the air, on the surface, and below the surface. Other information was plotted based on amount of room available within the CIC and the number of status boards available.
The Center Board - the 5' Vertical Plot - was used to plot air contacts, both friendly and enemy. There were two plotters behind the board, using sound powered phones talking to the air search radar operator. There was another plotter in the front of the board plotting ECM information as received. One of the boards showed the bearing, range course, speed and CPA of surface contacts. Another board would show the status of friendly aircraft. And yet still another board would show the status of all equipment and communications. Communications would include a list of all radio circuits available in CIC and a list of all ships in the Task Force with their call signs and warfare mission.
The command area as it is sometimes called is what we called the "Evaluator's Console" and looks like the desk between the two radar repeaters. The Executive Officer normally served the function of Evaluator. To help the Evaluator resolve any questions that might arise out of Looking at the status boards, there was access to the two radar repeaters along side, which, could show both the air and surface radar pictures. Thus, the Evaluator had access to the actual radars, and to the plots for the Evaluation function of the CIC.
The two radar repeaters on either side of the Evaluator Console were SPA-8's. These repeaters had the capability to switch inputs so that the surface picture from the SPS-10 radar or the air picture from the SPS-29 could be viewed.
The SPA-8's had the ability to offset the cursor so that vectors could be provided to pilots when controlling aircraft. However, that offset cursor had the impact of degrading the picture so that it was not often used in surface operations when bearing and range accuracy was more critical to maintaining an accurate plot. The major limitation of the SPA-8 repeater was that it was a maintenance nightmare for the Electronic Technician�s, who had difficulty calibrating the repeater and generally keep it working. This was an all vaccuum tube system, therefore, not that reliable in a ship board environment especially during heavy weather.
To meet the Dissemination functions, in front of him on the desk, the evaluator had access to all the communications devices normally used. These included a handset and barrel switch for sound powered (internal to the ship and somewhat secure) communication. He had the 21MC for internal communications, a handset and barrel switch for radiotelephone - external and not secure - communications to areas outside of the ship, and also a separate handset that provided secure radio communications.
The DRT and the NC2 plotters were used as tables during radar navigation/piloting and gunfire support. The charts were laid down on the table and range information provided verbally from the SPA-4 operator reading information seen by the SPS-10 Surface Search radar. The DRT was used for surface tracking and Man 0verboard situations by having tracing paper laid down on the glass and the light projecting from the "bug" up through the paper. This provided for own ship travel according to the course and speed of the ship at a distance to correspond to the scale set into the DRT.The Executive Officer normally served the function of Evaluator.
The NC2 could be used in the same scenario as the DRT with the added capability of having 2 "bugs" that received their input from either Sonar (for the submarine contact) as well as from the SPA 4 repeater located next to the NC2. The scope operator could place the cursor on the DASH bird (as it could be seen by the SPS-10 radar or the assist ship if we were running dual ship ASW exercises.)
Gearing class Destroyers were not the best weapon to use in an air war. The SPS 29 Air Search sustem was not the most accurate or effective air search available. The limits of the SPS-29 limited the ability to use the IFF to separate enemy from friendly aircraft. These ships also had no radar with height finding capability. Even if these ships could track all of the air targets effectively, they had two 5" guns, each with 2 manually loaded barrels that were of little use against high speed supersonic jets of the Vietnam era. However, these ships had very effective Sonar, which allowed them to be very good at tracking submarine contacts. The Mark 44/46 torpedo carried in torpedo tubes, in ASROC, and on DASH was also a very effective weapon for anti-submarine warfare (ASW). These Destroyers were also very good surface fighters - against surface targets and in a shore fire bombardment arena. The SPS-10 radar and SPA-4 repeaters were very accurate in providing range and bearing information. The 5" guns were effective out to a range of 5 miles with great accuracy.