Friedrich A. Meyer founds ADV/Orga in Wilhelmshaven. The one-man company specialises in software services for business customers. Meyer is therefore a pioneer in the software sector that is only now beginning to develop slowly. In general, computer manufacturers supply their own programs and large companies hire own computer programmers. In the 1970s, ADV/Orga develops into one of the largest German companies in the sector, employs up to 700 employees and goes public in 1984. In 1990, the Franco-British Sema Group will take over the company, which ran into financial difficulties.
1963 Reaching out to Germany
In the context of the Bi-national Cooperation Agreement, the Federal Office for Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB) concludes a contract on the purchase of French HF single-sideband radio equipment of type ERB-281 for special use in the troop. CITAIR Elektronik GmbH is founded near the BWB headquarters in Koblenz. The small company in the Goldgrube district will assume maintenance and repair of the ERB devices.
1964 From Ulm into orbit
After the Second World War, Telefunken expands the Ulm location to the headquarters of its tubes segment. As of 1967, the tube factory in the Söflinger Straße is further enhanced by another operating site in the Danube valley, specialised in the field of colour picture tube manufacturing. The company also gets a location for high-frequency technology in the former Sedan Barracks. Tube technology remains essential in special fields like microwave radio relay technology. In 1964, a special travelling wave tube for mobile military use of microwave radio relay technology is presented. In the same year, the development of radio tubes for satellites starts. The requirements are huge: The components must withstand high accelerations, vacuum and extreme temperature – and cannot be replaced in case if faults. For safety reasons, a redundant tube set is provided. The big day comes ten years later: A NASA Delta rocket carries the first four travelling wave tubes from Ulm into orbit with the Franco-German experimental satellite Symphonie 1. After more than 70,000 operating hours, the satellite is shut down in 1983. The replacement tubes were not needed. The premiere was a success.
1965 Rising steeply
Standard Elektrik Lorenz is still in a leading position in the market for air navigation and landing systems. After two years of testing, the first Doppler omni-directional radio range equipment DVOR is handed over to the customer. Compared with the predecessor, it provides more precise data, irrespective of the terrain. In the aviation sector, there is a close cooperation with the French company LMT.
SEL is also involved in a consortium for the development of a combined navigation and landing system for VTOL aircraft. The German aircraft industry is working on relevant projects commissioned by the Ministry of Defence for some years now. The aim is to introduce fighters, combat aircraft and cargo planes that can operate without an elaborate infrastructure in case of emergency. Despite the technical success, reconditioning of military requirements and concerns about efficiency lead to a discontinuation of all three programmes on 1972.
1968 A giant is born
Technologies that are more and more complex and an increasing international competition have become a disadvantage for smaller companies. In this light, two mega-mergers in France produce an electronics and defence group with more than 64,000 employees, a domestic market share of 50% and a global export business: Between 1966 and 1968, Hotchkiss-Brandt, a conglomerate in the military equipment and consumer market with a rich tradition, and the electronic companies Compagnie Française Thomson-Houston and CSF merge into a group. Their division for avionics and defence electronics now operates under the name of Thomson-CSF – the direct Thales predecessor is born.