The three large monopulse tracking radars were originally controlled by Gould-SEL computers with embedded CSPI MAP
array processors. The array processors had become un-maintainable, and the old Gould-SEL operating system and non-standard
Fortran dialect hampered software development. The project was to replace the Gould-SEL and array processor systems with
PCs running modern and maintainable codes. There were four important contraints:
The radars were to remain operational throughout the project. OTR has a busy test schedule, and no system was to be
rendered inoperable at any time.
The system performance was required to be at least as good as that of the original Gould-SEL systems.
The safety of the systems was not to be compromised. The radars have large moving parts, sensitive receivers and
high voltage transmitters. The original software had safety interlocks to protect the equipment and these were to be
preserved and extended.
The code was to be migrated and sometimes re-implemented in languages appropriate to the sub-systems. Therefore the
signal processing remained in Fortran, the instrument control was largely converted to C and the user interfaces to C++.
Many staff were involved in the project, in particular, the radar managers Stephen Day Mandy and Justin Abraham, the
software team, Harry Huyzers, Fred Arnott, Ian Swart, Thomas Bennett (Now at SKA), Brian Farrimond
(SimCon) and John Collins (SimCon), the hardware engineers, Wimpie van der Westhuizen and Gerard van Eck, and the radar operators,
Louis van der Walt, Cassie Carstens, Jeff Owens, Julie Meswatu (Now at SALT) and Berto Botha.