US Navy Shell Display, US Avionics Facility Indianapolis, circa WWII
The government commissioned the Naval Ordnance Plant in Indianapolis in May1942 to produce the top secret Norden Bombsight which was primarily for the Army Air Corps. These bombsights became available in 1943 and contained an analog computer that allowed for unheard of accuracy in high level bombing. The Norden bombsight was top secret and the general population of Indianapolis did not know what the facility was producing although the plant was awarded the Navy “E” flag for production from 1943–45. In September 1945 the plant was turned over to the Navy and became the Naval Ordnance Plant, Indianapolis. The facility tested and produced various forms of avionics technology for the Navy through the Korean War. In 1956 the name was altered to Naval Avionics Facility, Indianapolis and the operation’s direction was more toward research and development for all branches of military service. The operation’s importance was upgraded to Center in 1977 and was responsible for researching and developing such military technology as satellites and black boxes as well as guidance and navigation systems on missiles and had a work force of 3,000. It was renamed the Naval Air Warfare Center in 1992 but was closed by the government for budget reasons three years later. The facility is currently run by Raytheon Co.
This display is from the original Navy run facility and probably was a display in the welcoming lobby. Mounted and replicated are Shell casings and sabots (dummies) of the Navy's 4" 50 caliber gun (pair), 6" 53 caliber gun and a pair of 20MM shells. The entire display is 36" wide by 34" high and is a sight to behold. Inventory # 0118