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Ultra's flat battery

Sir Ian Orr-Ewing's 'bitter disappointment' in June 1970 was understandable as early Sonobuoys were fraught with problems

New Electronics archive: June 23 1970

As well as limited battery life, the sonar systems which conduct anti-submarine warfare, had limited range and were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of noise created by the ocean.

Thankfully, Orr-Ewing's frustration was short lived – just a few months after the announcement of Ultra's pre-tax loss of £739,066, he was created a life peer – Baron Orr-Ewing of Little Berkhamsted.

Meanwhile, Ultra's future was a little more complex. Seven years after this news item, the defence specialist was bought by Dowty Group, while in 1993 it was the subject of a management buyout led by Julian Blogh of seven Dowty Group plc companies, which had been acquired by TI Group in 1992.

Today, Ultra generates a revenue of around £651million, with an operating income of £76m. It has 21 operations sites with approximately half based in the UK.

Chris Shaw

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