Bob Wademan and Ferranti

Ancient History

Format of the FN1600B instruction set My introduction into the world of computing was with Ferranti
Computer Systems Limited. I started off programming, designing,
testing and trialing software for the FM1600B.

At one point a large part of my work involved harbour and sea trials
aboard the Light Aircraft Carriers (eg HMS Invincible) and Type 42s
(eg HMS Southampton). These were a welcomed break from the
office, although trials aboard a batch 1 Type 42 in rough weather
were not exactly fun!


Having acquired a sound understanding of all aspects of operational software development
and the hours of testing time spent at sea gave a good insight into the possibilities of system
enhancements. My scientific and research training gave me the ability to develop more modern
system modules. Some were to aid performance, others to provide enhanced Human Computer
Interfaces (HCIs). These progressed into numerous studies into modernising the existing
interfaces requiring presentations to MoD and Royal Navy decision-makers. Further studies
followed for the DoD and MoD.

Then came a time of unprecedented change in military procurements -
the revolution from cost-plus contracts to fixed-price contracts.

This necessitated MoD contractors to examine their business processes and to look for ways
of streamlining the business whilst retaining quality and excellence. I had the task of revamping
many of the department's procedures and generating new ones to cope with the changing
commercial climate. During this time, a decision was made that the Centre of Excellence,
Advanced Systems Engineering Department would need to be commercialised. Hitherto, it
had provided its services solely in-house. It now had to market its strengths more vigorously
within the Ferranti family and externally for the first time. I had the task of positioning the
Engineering Department, changing the focus from technology led to a customer, market
focussed one.

Simulation and Training

Soon after the Simulation and Training Division was created I proceeded to produce and
project manage bids for some very exciting new naval simulators and trainers, achieving
a particularly high hit-rate.

I particularly enjoyed developing and project managing Ferranti's software/hardware
maintenance contract for the extensive training systems at HMS Dryad and the Royal Navy School of Fighter Control (RNSFC) at RNAS Yeovilton.

The Yeovilton Team
The Ferranti 'RNSFC team' and their families during
the 1992 International Air Day.
Royal Naval Air Station - Yeovilton.

One of the more technical roles I undertook was the design proving of a full 360 degree
projection system and multimedia simulator used for the training of Air Defence personnel.
This was subsequently delivered to bases both in the UK and overseas.

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van Helsing Limited 2000
Page Origin:
3 April 2000
Last Modified:
11 Aug 2003