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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

International Signal and Control (ISC) was a U.S. defense contractor based in the outskirts of Lancaster, Pennsylvania / or Lancaster County and was involved in the manufacture of electronic missile subassemblies, navigation components, fuses, power supplies for proximity fuses, and grenade technology. The company had manufactured sub assemblies for the Shrike and Sparrow missile in 1974, and just after the Vietnam war which was part of a standard arms contract for the US defense administration.

The company also had a commercial repair facility of two meter portable HAM/ amateur radios from a company in New Jersey called Clegg and, manufactured communication helmet radios for firemen, and electromic outdoor bug zappers.

ISC was involved in two major indiscretions, for which CEO James Guerin received a 15 year prison sentence:
  • It defrauded and caused the collapse of the British company Ferranti, which acquired it in 1987.
  • It exported classified military technology to South Africa, which was then forwarded to third countries, notably Iraq.
Exports to South Africa and Iraq
ISC technology, principally weapons fuses, and were exported to Iraq via South Africa, allegedly1 with the knowledge of U.S. intelligence agencies and in violation of United States and United Nations sanctions. U.S. intelligence agencies were involved in the setting up of electronic listening posts in South Africa with ISC technology. In 1977 these operations were officially cancelled due to sanctions but allegedly continued.2

Another link to Iraq was the supply of the specifiations for the MK-20 Rockeye cluster bomb through Chilean defence company Carlos Cardoen, which was able to build an almost identical weapon.3

In 1992 CEO Guerin pleaded guilty to exporting classified military technology. These weapons were to aid Iraq in its fight with Iran but prosecutors at Guerin's trial alleged that some were inevitably used against U.S. and allied troops in the Gulf War.

In 1994, after Bobby Ray Inman requested to be withdrawn from consideration as Bill Clinton's first Defense Secretary, his critics speculated that the decision was motivated by a desire to conceal his links to ISC. Inman was a member of the so-called "shadow board" of the company which was allegedly either negligent or approved the exports.

Ferranti defrauding and collapse
ISC was acquired by Ferranti in 1987, which collapsed in 1993 due to the debts of its new subsidiary. International Signal and Control's CEO James Guerin was found guilty of defrauding Ferranti by inflating the order the book of ISC, prior to and during the acquisition, with fictitious contracts. Ferranti was broken up and the majority of the defence businesses were purchased by GEC.

1. e.g. [1] [2]
2. www.greenleft.org.au: US link in South African missile technology
3. www.cryptogon.com: Historical Perspectives on the Persian Gulf Crisis (PDF)
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Signal_and_Control"
Category: Defunct companies of the United States

US link in South African missile technology

26 June 1991
By Norm Dixon

The claim that Iraq was developing a nuclear weapons capability and ballistic missile technology was one of the major justifications for the US-led war in the Gulf. Yet it has been revealed that the US government turned a blind eye as similar technology was transferred to South Africa in contravention of US export laws and the international arms embargo of South Africa.

According to a London Financial Times-US ABC team of investigative reporters, the transfers occurred between 1984 and 1988 with the knowledge of the Central Intelligence Agency. Ironically, some of this sensitive technology was then redirected from South Africa to Iraq. An account of the investigation was published in a recent edition of the Johannesburg-based Southern Africa Report.

The shipments were first made by a Pennsylvania-based electronics company, International Signal and Control (ISC), and they continued after the company was bought by the British defence contractor, Ferranti, in 1987.

The equipment included material which could be used to develop a missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads, photo-imaging equipment for determining the performance of missile tests and gyroscopes used in inertial navigation or guidance systems.

Advanced radar-controlled anti-aircraft systems were shipped to South Africa. South Africa, together with ISC, also developed a sophisticated ground-to-air missile for its own use and for export.

All this equipment was restricted US technology requiring export licences, which were not obtained. James Guerin, the owner of ISC, who became deputy chairperson of Ferranti, claims the company's activities were sanctioned by the US government.

The investigators reported that Guerin set up a front company with the South African authorities for the US National Security Agency, as part of a US covert operation in 1974. This involved shipping advanced electronic sensors, optics and related equipment to South Africa without licenses so as to set up listening posts to track Soviet submarines off the Cape of Good Hope.

This company, Gamma Systems Associates, ordered restricted equipment from ISC, then shipped it on to South Africa on board airliners. The equipment was repackaged and the airline companies given false descriptions of the equipment. The operation ceased to have official sanction in 1977.

Despite this, between 1982 and 1988 Gamma continued to ship electronics for ISC to South Africa when Pretoria, in partnership with Israel, was developing a long-range ballistic missile.

In 1984, the investigators report, Guerin offered to work directly for the CIA. Then almost weekly shipments of sensitive equipment necessary for the construction of long-range ballistic missiles began to flow to South Africa on a route identical to the original channel. Customers included the South African state arms company, Armscor, for whom Guerin acted as consultant in 1977.

In July 1989, Armscor tested a ballistic missile with a range of 1400 kilometres. Ten years before, satellites recorded a “double flash” in the Indian Ocean. This is suspected to have been a joint South African-Israeli nuclear test.

From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #18 26 June 1991.

Bobby Ray Inman
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bobby Ray Inman
Bobby Ray Inman (born April 4, 1931 in Rhonesboro, Texas) is a retired U.S. admiral who held several influential positions in the U.S. Intelligence community.

He served as Director of Naval Intelligence from September 1974 to July 1976, then moved to the Defense Intelligence Agency where he served as Vice Director until 1977. He next became the Director of the National Security Agency. Inman held this post until 1981. His last major position was as the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a post he held from February 12, 1981 to June 10, 1982.
He is known publicly as President Bill Clinton's first choice to succeed Les Aspin as Secretary of Defense in 1993. He withdrew from consideration in a televised conference in which he complained about a "conspiracy" to attack his character.

He has also been influential in various advisory roles. Notably, he chaired a commission on improving security at U.S. foreign installations after the Marine barracks bombing and the April 1983 US Embassy bombing in Beirut, Lebanon. The commission's report has been influential in setting security design standards for U.S. Embassies.

Since 2001, Inman has been the LBJ Centennial Chair in National Policy at The University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, and in 2005 was the school's interim dean [1]. Inman graduated from Texas with a bachelor's in history in 1950.

Inman has also served on the Board of Directors of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations and on the Board of Directors of Dell [2]. In 2006, Inman criticized the Bush administration's use of warrantless domestic wiretaps, making him one of the highest-ranking former intelligence officials to criticize the program in public [3][4].

External links
· Biography of Bobby Ray Inman
· *[http://utopia.utexas.edu/articles/alcalde/inman.html?sec=law⊂=none Bob Inman on Terrorism
1. Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Biography of Bobby R. Inman, retrieved October 16, 2007
2. Pletz, John. "Michael Dell's view from the top", Austin American-Statesman, May 2, 2004
3. Shachtman, Noah. "Ex-NSA Chief Assails Bush Taps", Wired News, May 9, 2006
4. "Ex-NSA Head Bobby Ray Inman on the National Security Agency’s Domestic Surveillance Program: “This Activity Was Not Authorized", www.democracynow.org, May 17, 2006


Ferranti or Ferranti International plc by the time of its collapse, was a major UK electrical engineering and equipment firm, known primarily for defence electronics and power grid systems.

Ferranti is also famous in the computer industry for building the second commercial computer, the Ferranti Mark I, which went on sale in 1949 and started their computer business which lasted into the 1970s. They had influential collaborations with the University computing departments at Manchester and Cambridge, which resulted in the development of the Mercury and Atlas machines (Manchester); and the Atlas 2 or Titan (Cambridge).


Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti went into this business in 1882 when he set up shop in London designing various electrical devices. Ferranti bet on AC early on, and was one of the few experts in this system in the UK. In 1887 the London Electric Supply Corporation (LESCo) hired Ferranti for the design of their power station at Deptford. He designed the building, the generating plant and the distribution system. On its completion in 1891 it was the first truly modern power station, supplying high-voltage AC power that was then "stepped down" for consumer use on each street. This basic system remains in use today around the world.

Rapid Growth

Success followed and Ferranti started producing electrical equipment for sale. Soon the company was looking for considerably more room. Prices in the London area were too high, so the company moved to Hollinwood in Oldham in 1896. Ferranti Ltd. was established in 1905. By the end of the decade Ferranti had amassed 176 patents for such things as the alternator, high-tension cables, circuit breakers, transformers and turbines.

Through the early part of the century power was supplied by small companies, typically as an offshoot of plant set up to provide power to local industry. Each plant supplied a different standard, which made the mass production of electrical equipment for home users rather difficult. In 1910 Ferranti started an effort to standardize the power supply, which eventually culminated in the National Grid in 1926.

High voltage power transformers became an important product for Ferranti, some of the largest types weighed over a hundred tons. Ferranti built a new power transformer works at Hollinwood in the late 1940s, however the orders the company had hoped for did not materialize, and the transformer division closed in 1979, severing the last link Ferranti had with heavy electrical engineering.

Electricity meters were another key product for Ferranti, the company became an important supplier to many electricity supply companies. The meter business was eventually sold to Siemens in the 1980s, following a joint venture with them called FML.

New factories were set up in the north-west at Moston, Wythenshawe, Cheadle Heath and Gorton which were happy for the jobs. Eventually they set up branch-plants in Edinburgh, Dalkeith, Aberdeen, Bracknell and Cwmbran as well as Germany and the U.S and several British Commonwealth countries including Canada, Australia and Singapore.

Ferranti Australia was based in Revesby, Sydney NSW. There was also a branch office in South Australia. It was primarily defence based. SCTT3, PVS etc

Ferranti manufactured many "white goods" such as Televisions, Radios, and electric clocks at its Moston plant, in addition Ferranti Instruments, again based at Moston developed various items for scientific measurements, including one of the first cone and plate viscometers.

Defence Electronics

During World War II, Ferranti became a major supplier of electronics, fuzes, valves, and was heavily involved in the early development of radar in the United Kingdom. In the post-war era this became a large segment of their company, with various branches supplying radar sets, avionics and other military electronics, both in the UK and their various international offices.

In 1943 Ferranti opened a factory at Crewe Toll in Edinburgh to manufacture Gyro Gunsights for the Spitfire aircraft. After the war this business (Ferranti Scotland) would grow to employ 8,000 staff in 8 locations, becoming the birth place of the Scottish electronics industry, and a major contributor to Company profitability.

Early post war work focused on the development of airborne radar with the company subsequently supplying radars to most of the UK's fast jet and helicopter fleets. Today the Crewe Toll site (now SELEX Sensors and Airborne Systems) leads the consortium providing the Radar for the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Inertial Navigation became an important product line for the company with systems designed for fast jet (Harrier, Tornado), Space and Land applications. This product line later employed solid state ring laser gyros manufactured at Crewe Toll.

The company's activities expanded into cockpit displays (moving map, head-down, head-up)video cameras and recorders, pilots night vision goggles, integrated helmets, and pilot's stick controls.

With the invention of the Laser in the 1960's the company quickly established itself in the Electro-optics arena. From the early 70's it was delivering the Laser Rangefinder and Marked Target Seeker (LRMTS) for the Jaguar and Harrier fleets, and later for Tornado. It supplied the world's first man-portable laser rangefinder/designator (Laser Target Marker, LTM) to the British Army in 1974, and had notable successes in the US market, establishing Ferranti Electro-optics Inc in Huntington Beach, California. It's TIALD Pod (Thermal Imager and Laser Designator) has been in almost constant combat opeation on Tornado since it was rushed into service during the first Gulf War.

By the time this business was sold to GEC in 1990 it had reached a pre-eminent position in the UK Defence Electronics market. On the Tornado aircraft, it was supplying the Radar Transmitter, Inertial Navigation System, LRMTS, TIALD Pod, Mission recording equipment, and Cockpit Displays.


In the late 1940s Ferranti joined with various university-based research groups to develop computers. Their first effort was the Ferranti Mark I, with about nine delivered from 1951–1957. The Pegasus introduced in 1956 was their most popular valve (vacuum tube) system, with 38 units sold.

Circa 1956, Ivan Idelson, at Ferranti, originates the Cluff-Foster-Idelson coding of characters on 7 track paper tape for a BSI committee. This eventually becomes ASCII.

In collaboration with the University of Manchester they built a new version of the famous Manchester Mark I that replaced valve diodes with solid state versions, which allowed the speed to be increased dramatically as well as increasing reliability. Ferranti offered the result commercially as the Mercury starting in 1957, and eventually sold nineteen in total. Although a small part of Ferranti's empire, the computer division was nevertheless highly visible.

Work on a completely new design, the Atlas, started soon after the delivery of the Mercury, aiming to dramatically improve performance. The machine first ran in 1962, and Ferranti eventually built three machines in total. A version of the Atlas modified for the needs of the University of Cambridge Mathematical Laboratory led to the Titan (or Atlas 2), which was the mainstay of scientific computing in Cambridge for nearly 8 years.

By the early 1960s their mid-size machines were no longer competitive, but efforts to design a replacement were bogged down. Into this void stepped the Canadian division, Ferranti-Packard, who had used several of the ideas under development in England to very quickly produce the Ferranti-Packard 6000. By this time Ferranti's management had tired of the entire market and were looking for someone to buy the entire division. Eventually it was merged into International Computers and Tabulators (ICT) in 1963. After studying several options, ICT selected the FP 6000 as the basis for their ICT 1900 line which sold into the 1970s.

The deal setting up ICT excluded Ferranti from the commercial sector of computing; but left the industrial field free. Some of the technology of the FP 6000 was later used in its Ferranti Argus range of industrial computers which were developed in its Wythenshawe factory. The first of these, simple Argus, was initially developed for military use.

Meanwhile in Bracknell Digital Systems division was developing a range of mainframe computers for naval applications. Early computers using discrete transistors were the Hermes and Poseidon and these were followed by the F1600 in the mid 1960s. Some of these machines remained in active service on naval vessels for many years. The FM1600B was the first of the range to use integrated circuits and used in many naval and commercial applications. The FM1600D was a single rack version of the computer for smaller systems. An airborne version of this was also made and used aboard the RAF Nimrod. The last in the series was the FM1600E which was a redesigned and updated version of the FM1600B.


Ferranti had been involved in production of electronic devices including cathode ray tube devices and germanium semiconductors for some time before it became the first European company to produce a silicon diode, in 1955. Ferranti Semiconductor Ltd. went on to produce a range of silicon bipolar devices including, in 1977, the F100-L, an early 16-bit single chip microprocessor with 16-bit addressing. An F100-L was carried into space on the amateur radio satellite UoSAT-1 (Oscar 9).[1]. Ferranti's ZTX series bipolar transistors gave their name to the inheritor of Ferranti Semiconductor's discrete semiconductor business, Zetex plc[2].

In the early eighties, Ferranti produced some of the first large uncommitted logic arrays (ULAs), used in home computers such as the Sinclair ZX81, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Acorn Electron and BBC Microcomputer. The microelectronics business was sold to Plessey in 1988.


Ferranti concentrated on their defence sales from the late 1980s. The Bloodhound SAM, for which they developed radar systems, was a key money earner.

Ferranti purchased International Signal and Control (ISC), a Pennsylvania based defence contractor, in 1987 and was renamed Ferranti International plc. Ferranti was reorganised, divisions which were set up include:

  • Ferranti Computer Systems
  • Ferranti Defence Systems Limited
  • Ferranti Dynamics
  • Ferranti Satcomms
  • Ferranti Technologies
  • International Signal & Control

Unknown to Ferranti, ISC's business primarily consisted of illegal arms sales started at the behest of various US clandestine organizations. On paper the company looked to be extremely profitable on sales of high-priced "above board" items, but in fact these profits were essentially non-existent. With the sale to Ferranti all illegal sales ended immediately, leaving the company with no obvious cash flow.

In 1989 the Serious Fraud Office started criminal investigation regarding alleged massive fraud at ISC. In December 1991 James Guerin, founder of ISC and co-Chairman of the merged company, pleaded guilty before the federal court in Philadelphia to fraud committed both in the USA and UK. All offences which would have formed part of any UK prosecution were encompassed by the US trial and as such no UK trial proceeded.

The massive financial and legal difficulties that resulted forced Ferranti into bankruptcy in December 1993.

The computer section was bought out of bankruptcy by a Thomson-CSF subsidiary called SYSECA. It traded on as Ferranti-SYSECA, until the Ferranti name was finally dropped about 1996.

Break-up of Ferranti

  • Ferranti Computer Systems – acquired out of administration by SYSECA [now Thales Information Systems], and renamed Ferranti-SYSECA Ltd, later the Ferranti was dropped. The department dealing with airport systems was bought by Datel in around 1995 and continued to trade under the name Ferranti Airport Systems FASL until it was bought by Ultra Electronics. Other parts of Ferranti Computer Systems were acquired out of administration by GEC-Marconi, when GEC-Marconi sold on its defence related businesses to BAE Systems many of these former Ferranti entities became part of the BAE/Finmeccanica joint venture called Alenia Marconi Systems. The JV has now been dissolved and the former Ferranti entities are now part of BAE Systems Integrated System Technologies (Insyte).
  • Ferranti Defence Systems Limited – acquired by GEC-Marconi out of administration and re-named GEC Ferranti, later changing to GEC Marconi Avionics (GMAv). This business was acquired in 2000 by BAE SYSTEMS (BAE SYSTEMS Avionics). Part of this business, including the heritage Ferranti operation, was acquired by Finmeccanica in 2007 and re-named SELEX Sensors and Airborne Systems.
  • Ferranti Dynamics – acquired by GEC-Marconi in 1992
  • Ferranti Instrumentation – dissolved. Some assets acquired by GEC-Marconi and Ravenfield Designs
  • Ferranti Satcomms – acquired out of administration by Matra Marconi Space in 1994
  • Ferranti Technologies – Independent company
  • Ferranti Air Systems – acquired by Datel then turned into an independent company. Later bought by Ultra Electronics
  • 50% share of Ferranti Thomson Sonar Systems – acquired by GEC-Marconi
  • Ferranti Helicopters – acquired by British Caledonian Airways in April 1979 to become British Caledonian Helicopters which was in turn acquired by Bristow Helicopters in 1987

Ferranti Defence Systems was acquired by GEC in January 1990. The selection of the radar had become a major stumbling block in the EFA project (what would become the Eurofighter Typhoon). Britain, Italy and Spain supported the Ferranti-led ECR-90, while Germany preferred the MSD2000 (a collaboration between Hughes, AEG and GEC. An agreement was reached after UK Defence Secretary Tom King assured his West German counterpart Gerhard Stoltenberg that the British government would underwrite the project and allow GEC to acquire Ferranti Defence Systems from its troubled parent.[1] Hughes sued GEC for $600 million for its role in the selection of the EFA and alleged that it used Hughes technology in the ECR-90 when it took over Ferranti. It later dropped this allegation and was awarded $23 million, the court judged that the MSD-2000 "had a real or substantial chance of succeeding had GEC not tortuously intervened... and had the companies, which were bound by the Collaboration Agreement, faithfully and diligently performed their continuing obligations thereunder to press and promote the case for MSD-2000."[2]

Remaining Uses of the Ferranti Name

A number of uses of the Ferranti name remain in use. In Edinburgh, the Ferranti Edinburgh Recreation Club (FERC), the Ferranti Mountaineering Club and the Ferranti Ten-pin Bowling League are still in existence. While these organisations no longer have any formal ties with the companies which subsumed the Ferranti companies which operated in Edinburgh, they still operate under the old names.

Denis Ferranti Meters Limited is still owned by a direct descendant of Sebastian de Ferranti but is not directly related to the major Ferranti corporation. The company has over 200 employees manufactures BT's public phones, oil pumps for large industrial vehicles, electric motors for motorbility solutions, electronics, and small MOD equipment.


* Tim Berners-Lee, acknowledged as the founder of the World Wide Web, is the son of two designers of the Ferranti Mark I.


1. Miller, Charles. "Radar Deal Keeps Britain in Forefront of Airborne Technology", The Press Association Ltd., 1990-05-08. Retrieved on 2006-11-28.
2.  "Court finds GEC 'intervened' on behalf of onetime EFA rival Ferranti", Aerospace Daily, McGraw-Hill Inc., 1994-03-15, p. 398. Retrieved on 2006-11-28.
External links

* Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester - Timeline of Ferranti's History

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