Elliott Flight Automation

The involvement of Elliott Bros (London) Ltd in the design and manufacture of aircraft instruments dates from about 1911. Up to the end of 1947 this activity was exclusively electro-mechanical and was based at Elliotts factory at Lewisham. The topics of flight control and mission systems began to be called flight automation and Elliotts entry into this business was almost exclusively via defence contracts although commercial aviation projects rapidly followed. Early autopilot research at Lewisham began in 1947 and this ultimately led to a contract for Elliotts to manufacture the control system for the Jindivik target aircraft designed by the Australian Ministry of Defence in conjunction with the RAE. The manufacture of various forms of auto stabiliser equipment was continued at Lewisham until about 1952 when the work was transferred to Rochester.

The Aviation Division was formally established at Borehamwood in late 1953 or early 1954. The Division had two main contracts a master reference gyro (MRG B) for the V Bombers and stand-off guided missiles and an auto stabiliser/autopilot for the English Electric Lightning fighter. In 1960 Elliott-Automation was reorganised into groups of management companies one of which was Elliott Flight Automation (EFA) and it was established at Rochester under Jack Pateman. EFA incorporated the Airborne Computing Division. In the period 1958 to 1963 the great majority of Borehamwood’s flight automation activities were gradually transferred to EFA and by 1962 Rochester had become the headquarters for Elliott Flight Automation.

(See 'Moving Targets' by Simon Lavington.)