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Buccaneer HUD Waveform Generator Unit

Technical Information

Catalogue No: C0007
Category: Head-Up Display [HUD]
Object Type: Signal/Data Processor
Object Name: Buccaneer HUD Waveform Generator Unit
Part No: 8B/5506
Serial No: EA/300/67
Manufacturer: Elliott Automation
Division: Unknown
Platform(s): Buccaneer 
Year of Manufacture: circa 1967
Width (mm):
Height (mm):
Depth (mm):
Weight (g):
Location: Main Object Store

Display Waveform Generator Mk.2. Type 'A'
Ref. No. 8B/5506
Serial No. EA/300/67
[clamp ring 1]
Head of screws this side
Ref No. 8B/4674
[clamp ring 2]
Ref No 8B/4673


The Display Waveform Generator was fitted in a bay just forward of the Port engine intake and its case was pressurised to about 15psi using a basic bicycle pump.

This unit was acquired from Portsmouth Breakers in 1999.

July 1953 saw the issuing of Naval Staff Requirement NA.39 calling for a carrier-borne strike aircraft with a large range capable of carrying a nuclear weapon under enemy radar cover and striking enemy shipping or ports. Blackburn Aircraft won the tender to produce their design which became the 'Buccaneer'.

The prototype first flew on 30th April 1958. The specification called for an Attack Sight giving navigation and weapon release information for the low level attack mode. The Air Arm branch of the Ministry sponsored the development of a Strike Sight System which was the name for the overall weapon aiming and release system. The Royal Aircraft Establishment designed the Strike Sight System and Cintel manufactured the Head-Up Display (HUD) element of it; the system was first integrated in 1958.

The Cintel Head-Up Display business was taken over by Elliotts and the Buccaneer PDU was manufactured and further developed continuing up to a Mark III version with a total of 375 systems made; it was given a 'fit and forget' title by the Royal Navy and was still in service nearly 25 years later. By successive commercial acquisitions, BAE Systems thus has a claim to the world's first Head-Up Display in operational service.

The symbology for the display was generated by analogue circuits within the "dustbin" Display Waveform Generator Mk2 Type 'A' on circular cards reminiscent in shape of an artists palette. Symbol shapes were created by the Waveform Generator and displaced by DC voltages derived from the data inputs. The system was quite advanced with the capability to drive a second display unit but symbols could only be changed by altering the circuit boards.

The unit refreshed the display at 33Hz; only just fast enough avoid flicker but the P1 phosphor if the CRT in the Display Unit fortunately had a reasonable persistence. Later Waveform Generators began to use printed circuit boards. This was one of the earliest applications of silicon semiconductors in place of thermionic valves (vacuum tubes) for symbol generation.

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