Westinghouse radar helped Kuwaiti royal family escape

November 15, 1990

The Linthicum-based Westinghouse Electronic Systems Group and another local company played a key role in saving the royal family of Kuwait from the Iraqi forces in August.

A tethered balloon produced by Columbia-based TCOM L.P. and equipped with a radar system made by Westinghouse alerted the emir and his family to the pending invasion.

Westinghouse chairman and chief executive officer Paul E. Lego yesterday cited the incident as an example of the importance of producing reliable products for customers. Lego made the remarks in Baltimore at a national symposium on total quality management techniques.

"If that radar had not been working, future political circumstances in the Middle East might be entirely different," he said. According to Aviation Week, TCOM engineers were in Kuwait analyzing data that was being gathered by the 232-foot balloon, called an aerostat. From the information they received, they realized that Iraq was amassing troops at Kuwait's border. Early in the morning of Aug. 2, the engineers saw a big burst of light on the radar screen and knew the invasion had begun.

The engineers alerted Kuwaiti officials who were able to warn members of the royal family, allowing them to escape.

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