Included in the CECOM Historical Office’s archive is a smaller collection (about 0.3 linear foot of material) of materials related to the Mallard Project. The Mallard Project (“Mallard”) did not originate at CECOM predecessor ECOM, but rather was a project assigned to the ECOM location. “Mallard” which operated in the late 1960s and early 1970s, was an outgrowth of the ABCA (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia Armies) Agreement. As such the project was conducted with the involvement of all four of these countries. The location was in a freshly constructed building located on Hance Avenue, in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, a short distance from Fort Monmouth.
As an outgrowth of the ABCA, there were four flag poles in front of the building. At the onset, the project appears to have only involved three countries (The United States, Australia, and Canada). Note the flag poles on the image of the dedication brochure. Eventually the United Kingdom would also become a participant. The project was a major cooperative effort between these three countries, with the purpose being the development of a comprehensive secure tactical communication system for the field armies of the cooperating countries.
“Mallard” was divided into three stages, to include 1) definition of operational and technical requirements (“Mallard I”), 2) detailed study of the systems and equipments (“Mallard II”), and 3) advanced development, engineering development and production (“Mallard III”).
“Mallard I” ended with the completion of its major objectives by defining initial user requirements. The Mallard I study identified quantitative and qualitative requirements of the ABCA nations. The qualitative parameters were broad, to include mobility, flexibility, responsiveness, reliability, and more definitive requirements of security for nodes, mobile access (Single-channel radio access), and ability to accommodate voice, teletypewriter, and facsimile users.
“Mallard I” was the only stage of the project that was carried out to completion with the involvement of all of the agreeing countries; at the end of “Mallard I”, the United States withdrew from the project to seek other alternatives. At that time, Mallard was dissolved and the “Mallard II and III” stages were reexamined and redefined as four phases to include: 1) system studies and techniques investigation in support of the system studies, 2) development functional models and/or stimulations, 3) engineering development, and 4) production of the system to satisfy requirements of the four governments.
This is a really high-level overview of what was a unique cooperative effort that actually discusses the implementation of a project that traces its inception back to WWII.
The CECOM Historical Office Mallard Project collection includes a joint history of the Mallard Project, news articles and press releases, biographical materials on participants, and Annual Historical Summaries. Interested readers should contact the Historical office on the contact page located at http://cecom.army.mil/historian/contactus.php for additional information.
This blog was written by Floyd Hertweck.