Ferranti Argus 700

The British company Ferranti Ltd was an electrical engineering company with a long history of working on government and military contracts. It closed down in 1994 after over 100 years of operation.They created several families of computer systems used by the UK research and military establishments.

Ferranti's Argus computers were a line of industrial control computers offered from the 1960s into the 1980s. They were widely used in a variety of roles in Europe, particularly in the UK where they continue to serve as monitoring and control systems for nuclear reactors.

The Argus family did not contain general purpose computers: rather, they were designed to interface to other electronic systems and thereby control them. The original Argus machine was developed in 1958 for military use and was used in the Ground Station (Launch Control Post) for the Bloodhound Mk2 missile system. It later became the world's first process control computer in 1962 when it was installed at ICI to control an ammonia/soda plant. Ferranti went on to develop many models in the Argus family, which became very successful.

The original Argus was developed in 1958 as a ground-based control computer for the Bristol Bloodhound Mark 2 missile. The Bloodhound had a radar dish in the nose of the missile that had to be locked down during launch due to the vibration of the solid fuel rocket boosters that got the missile up to speed. Once the boosters were burned out and ejected, the radar antenna would be unlocked and start tracking the target. The Argus calculated where the target would be relative to the missile at the point of burnout, feeding that to the missile before launch and thereby allowing it to slew the radar to the correct angle. Although originally designed solely for military use, the Argus was later selected to control the operation of an ammonia/soda plant by ICI at their Fleetwood operations in 1962.

Breaking with the past, the next series of Argus machines were completely new designs and not backward compatible. The Argus 600 was an 8-bit machine, and this was followed by the Argus 700 which used 16-bit architecture. Design of the 700 started around 1968/9 and the range was still in production in the mid 1980s achieving international success for industrial and military applications. The 700 is still operational at several British nuclear power stations in 2010 in control and data processing applications. It was also used as a production control platform for companies such as Kodak.

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Manufacturer: Ferranti
Date: 1973



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Ferranti Argus 700 Articles:

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Ferranti Data Dynamics 390 Teletype Ferranti 1986
Ferranti Recorder, Reproducer Ferranti 1986

Magazines RELATED to Ferranti Argus 700 in our Library

Item Manufacturer Date
Personal Computer World - November 1983 Nov 1983
Practical Computing - January 1984 Jan 1984

Catalogues RELATED to Ferranti Argus 700 in our Library

Item Manufacturer Date
Ferranti Argus M700 Eurobus 18/A Ferranti Jun 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 Eurobus Internet Set Ferranti Jun 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 4998A Extender Card Ferranti Jul 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 76686 Prototype Wiring Card Kit Ferranti Jul 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 4529A Cartridge Magnetic Tape Driver Card Ferranti Jul 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 4502A Bus Arbiter Card Ferranti Jul 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 4501A Control and Monitor Interface Card Ferranti Jul 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 4503A Bus Linker Card Ferranti Jul 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 4504A Bus Test Card Ferranti Jul 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 4508 Bus Memory Dynamic RAM Card Ferranti Jul 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 4509A Bus Memory EPROM Card Ferranti Jul 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 4506A Terminal Driver Card Ferranti Jul 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 4507A Paper Tape Driver Card Ferranti Jul 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 4517A ASWE Serial Highway Interface Card Ferranti Jul 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 4500 Private Memory Dynamic RAM cards Ferranti Jul 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 4513 Private Memory Static RAM cards Ferranti Jul 1981
Ferranti Argus M700/20 Processor Ferranti Jul 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 4505A System Services Card Ferranti Jul 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 S-Cubed Interface Ferranti Sep 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 Eurobus Arbiter Chip Ferranti Oct 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 Cables Ferranti Oct 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 Test Software Ferranti Oct 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 Computer Systems Ferranti Oct 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 MX10 Program Development System Ferranti Oct 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 MX20 Program Development System Ferranti Oct 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 MX50 Program Development System Ferranti Oct 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 Mascot 700 Ferranti Oct 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 Eurobus Terminal Ferranti Oct 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 Cabinet Equipment Ferranti Oct 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 Cartridge Magnetic Tape Suite Ferranti Nov 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 HDS10 Hardware Development System Ferranti Nov 1981
Ferranti Argus M700 Eurobus Interrupt Vector Chip Ferranti Nov 1981

Other Systems Related To Ferranti Argus 700 :

Item Manufacturer Date
Ferranti Atlas Computer Ferranti 1961
Ferranti Argus 100 Ferranti 1963
Ferranti FM1600 B Ferranti 1965
Ferranti 1600E Ferranti 1973
Ferranti Argus PPC-20 Ferranti November 1983
Ferranti Advance 86 Ferranti December 1983
Ferranti Model No PC31 Ferranti 1986

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH16225. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

 

Ferranti Argus 700

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