LATCC (Mil) and RAF West Drayton

RAF WD Lightning 1977 RAF West Drayton and LATCC(mil) were in fact seperate entities. West Drayton was the parent unit, but LATCC was seperate. A mate of mine was posted in to West Drayton as an AATC but he worked in ADNC(air defence notification centre), this meant he took part in station exercises whereas LATCC(MIL) didn’t.

As an AATC I did 23 years and never served at what we called “area radar”, this term cover LATCC SCATCC and all the other ATCRUs. I did spend two weeks at Drayton in 97 on my ALFENNS instructors course. Richard Elwell

the RAF West Drayton gate guardian from Barry Davidson






D and D

Scan_20150916 (2)RW5





RE6b 1970








MASOR 1975RW7 1975

MASOR 1976 RW8 1976



Touchwire displays

Through they seem dated in 2015, in the 1970s touch wire displays were greeted with enthusiasm as touch sensitive input devices, designed to update the flight plan processing systems that underlie air traffic control systems. FPPS stores, activates, amends, distributes and displays that traffic data to control centres, control towers and to individual controllers at their work stations and control desks. Extracts of FPPS data go to Flow Management Units, airports, airlines even air defence. In NATS, in the 1970s, an ambitious joint civil military area control system was under development that utilised touch wire screens as Electronic Data Display Update Systems (EDDUS). Cancelled by the civil ATC service in the late 70s, EDDUS was implemented in the MASOR at LATCC and can be seen installed on the military work stations in the two photos above.

our thanks to Barry Jones for the following

The touch wire displays are from FPPS Myriad. The example pictures look like they were from the cancelled CASOR development (EDDUS went down the same sorry route – planned for both civil and military but the civil development was cancelled). In the former case it was because the Myriad platform was lacking the required processor power and memory, in the latter case it was because priorities changed with the advent of the CCF project.
FPPS was originally estimated to involve “15-25 man-years of effort, probably 18”. It came in at over 200 man-years and the civil component had been abandoned. Fortunately for Marconi, the supplier, it was a cost-plus contract!”

and to David Alan Roden

EDDUS used infra red touch grid input/display devices based on PDP11/23s – aka ESEGs. I was part of the acceptance team at SSL Farnborough and later a software developer for EDDUS at SADO, LATCC.”

Scan_20150913 (2)RW8

Scan_20150913 (3)RW9


New MASOR 1991 RW 11 new MASOR Ops Room 1991


Michael Colvin MP, Fl Lt ALan NuttallRW12

Michael Colvin MP, Fl Lt Alan Nuttall AOPA award to D&D Cell

ATC Wing inspection Wesr DraytonRW13

AVM Ian Pedder insecting ATC wing paradeRW14

Air Marshal Sir Ian Pedder inspects the local ATC Wing at RAF West Drayton – ta for comments to Barry Jones and Richard Elwell

The next few photos date to June 6th 1970 and are of “RAF West Drayton”. Note are the iconic Trim phones in pictures 2 and 3.

John A Baker sent in several comments When stage one mediator took over from stage 1/2. The FIR moved along the corridor (towards the military end), and the Civil & Mil FIR’s were in the same room. Later the FIR moved into an area off the main ops room (behind the CLN sector).



Probably the ‘low flying cell’



This shows the FIR room before the civil suites were occupied. Far end is the military FIR. The other boards are the Civil FIR (abt 1971).  Once occupied it had a large sofa on the right hand side. This was ideal for a ‘kip’, rather than taking the long walk to the canteen !

RAF West Drayton June 6th 1970 (4)RW17


RW17a  close up of the Mil FIR boards


RW17b RAFAN traffic office 3rd floor, April 1970





below The next two are the LATCC Club – situated over the canteen.

RAF West Drayton June 6th 1970 (3)RW18

rest/reading/quiet/newspaper room

RAF West Drayton June 6th 1970 (2)RW19

this is the bar/snooker room

RAF West Drayton June 6th 1970 (1)RW20

RAF West Drayton June 6th 1970 (6)RW21

9 thoughts on “LATCC (Mil) and RAF West Drayton”

  1. My first job with Plessey back in 1965 was making a touch input display.. one of those shown in the pictures above. It used circuit boards designed for the XL4 computers (part of PLCS/Linesman)
    Allan G3PIY


      1. Not entirely sure what PLCS stood for Chris.
        When Plessey (or was it ATE) won the contract for Linesman in the 50s we opened a new factory in Cheapside, Liverpool called “Exchange Works”, a List X factory, and to hide the natue of the contract for which we made the computers, the job was called PLCS. A pure guess is it originated in the name PLesseyCheapSide but later it became something else whose name escapes me for the moment.


  2. Ref RW13 and RW14 – that is not RAF West Drayton. WD is in Middlesex Wing which used to parade at RAF Uxbridge (and now RAF Northolt). I worked at WD for 40+ years and I do not recognize the buildings in the picture. Neither were they at Uxbridge. The cadet’s squadron number in RW14 is ‘1087’ which is in Sussex Wing.

    In fact I still work on ‘RAF West Drayton’ as current Commanding Officer of the West Drayton Air Cadets, so can speak with some confidence. The West Drayton Air Cadet HQ is still MoD property – it was enclaved-off when the site was sold for housing.


    1. Thanks Chris

      I’ve gone back to the original official photo and the wording comes from the printed legend on the reverse. Guess we’ll just have to wait for an ID of the location


      1. Fair enough – but I know I’m right! If anyone knows where Sussex Wing is headquartered that would be a clue.


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