The Combat System Engineering Development Site (CSEDS) building was originally constructed in 1959 for Engineering Development of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System tracking radar and later as the United States Air Force SpaceTrack radar in what was to become a familiar landmark to New Jersey Turnpike travelers as the familiar "Golf Ball" radome.
In October 1976, 17 years after the initial construction, Lockheed Martin (then RCA) was awarded a contract to convert the building which included major changes internally such as the installation of false decks for electronic equipment and installation of a 122-foot high superstructure replicating the forward deckhouse of an Aegis Cruiser. The remodeled facility was designed for the development and testing of the new Aegis Combat System.
On 21 May 1977, Armed Forces Day, CSEDS was formally commissioned as a Navy Facility. The structure became a renowned landmark along the New Jersey Turnpike and Interstate 295, described as the 'Cornfield Cruiser' and sometimes called USS Rancocas for the closest body of water.
CSEDS was equipped at the time with the new Navy radar known as the SPY-1A and the most advanced computer systems and combat system that were planned for installation on the planned DDG 47 which later became the USS TICONDEROGA (CG 47). CSEDS tracked its first target on 30 March 1978. Navy sailors stationed at the site operated and maintained the systems, training on the newly developed integrated Aegis Weapon and Combat Systems.
In 1985 the second Aegis radar system installed at CSEDS, the AN/SPY-1D, tracked targets for the first time. It was designed for the new Arleigh Burke class of Aegis Destroyers. Through the years CSEDS has contributed to the development of three generations of AN/SPY-1 Radar Systems, the latest being the AN/SPY-1D(V).
Australia, Japan, Spain, South Korea and Norway, convinced by its capabilities and proven performance, have chosen the Aegis Weapon System for their warships.
Today, CSEDS is much more than an exciting landmark in South Jersey along the New Jersey Turnpike. The facility continues to evolve as the Aegis Weapon System, the most advanced surface combat system in the world, is upgraded to take advantage of new technologies and open architecture to stay ahead of the rapidly changing threat. CSEDS is alive 24/7 with Sailors and engineers developing, testing and training on multiple Aegis Weapon System baselines simultaneously.
CSEDS is a vital resource for the Surface Warfare Enterprise and will be supporting the modernization of U. S. and allied combat systems for decades to come.