Programming in the R Signals

#1
Hi,

I was wondering if someone could tell me which roles if any within R Sigs which would involve programming? An electronic engineer I know told me he met some soldiers who were doing something almost identical to him, programming military hardware (using c++ and the like). I figured they must be Sigs, or am I wrong?
Are there any roles that do this? I thought maybe CSE?

Thanks in advance.
 
#6
I think youll find Tech trade dips into it but Id be suprised to find any bottom level programming being done in your day job. The (sort of) new Cyber defence lot might have a use for it but Im under the impression it attracts the more senior type of tech.
 
#7
Hi,

I was wondering if someone could tell me which roles if any within R Sigs which would involve programming? An electronic engineer I know told me he met some soldiers who were doing something almost identical to him, programming military hardware (using c++ and the like). I figured they must be Sigs, or am I wrong?
Are there any roles that do this? I thought maybe CSE?

Thanks in advance.
I know you asked about roles in Signals..but TG1 ATechAV Avionics in the RAF has several software development roles although once Tornado is out of service it'll reduce to one team and a few specialists dotted about. TG4 may have too with roles in cyber defence / security.
 
#8
I know you asked about roles in Signals..but TG1 ATechAV Avionics in the RAF has several software development roles although once Tornado is out of service it'll reduce to one team
Please expand on the software development roles? When I last worked with the RAF, we were expecting the dizzy heights of Oracle SQL but it turned out to be COBOL. [I don't expect Tornado to use COBOL..... Ada? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_(programming_language)]
 
#9
As an old school class 1 IS engineer, I can state that there is almost zero chance of doing any programming as a rank and file Comms Sys Engineer in a mainstream signals posting You might script the odd batch file here and there, but that's about it. These days civvy contractors manage most of that side of life and we're rarely allowed to play around in case we breach warranty conditions!


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#10
Hi,

I was wondering if someone could tell me which roles if any within R Sigs which would involve programming? An electronic engineer I know told me he met some soldiers who were doing something almost identical to him, programming military hardware (using c++ and the like). I figured they must be Sigs, or am I wrong?
Are there any roles that do this? I thought maybe CSE?

Thanks in advance.
Don't be mad, stay a civvy and earn good money for your programming skills.

If you must join up use the TA to see how much fun you can have in a very unusually made uniform which is cracking to iron.
 
#12
Ada mainly but c++, sql, visual<take your pick> can be found in places various.
I wonder whether anything inside the airframe is really running SQL in flight... hardly first choice for embedded systems.

I did programming work on bits inside the Typhoon; back then it was Ada (because it was the mandated MoD programming language in the 90s), C (because we managed to persuade MoD that trying to do hardware-related tasks using the Ada compilers of the time was a non-starter), and assembly code (for the SPARC and various hand-crafted SIMD and MIMD processors we were using in the Tranche 1 processor). The guys stuck using Ada were on to a career dead end, no-one in their right mind used it by choice; they used to transfer to our team to get a couple of years of C programming onto their CVs.

However... "writing software". A formal release of software, fully tested, was the kind of thing that took weeks to do. It involved a complete run of all acceptance tests, for every piece of software, on each of the 20+ processors in the kit, on a representative piece of the target hardware. And that was just one single sub-system (a friend's sub-unit used to take two days of rig time to run his full set of acceptance tests; my sub-unit was the quickest, I used to get it done in a half-day). We worked two shifts a day during formal testing, just to make best use of time on the two test rigs we used.

And even those changes came off the back of weeks of the systems team running reviews of the behaviour of the existing system against tapes of recorded radar data; then making a change on the simulator; then rerunning all of the trials tapes to note any change in performance; then checking it; then doing the same thing with a real radar and the modified code. You don't just hammer in a change, run the compilers, and load the new code. Not going to happen.

We had 40+ software engineers working on the data and signal processors; programming hard-real-time embedded systems running on parallel processors is not a common skillset, and you're talking about productivity measured in hundreds of lines of delivered, tested, working source code per year (one figure I saw suggested that the even more thoroughly tested space kit allegedly ran at about 250 LOC per man-year; contrasting this, I've turned around thousands of lines of good-quality C++ in a month before now, for a commercial software tool). These days, they aren't even using C, they're running the GEDAE tool and C++.

PS If you're doing C++, read Herb Sutter. RAII forever...
 
#13
Don't be mad, stay a civvy and earn good money for your programming skills.

If you must join up use the TA to see how much fun you can have in a very unusually made uniform which is cracking to iron.

If you want an intellectual challenge in the TA avoid the scalies altogether. If you're as smart as you think you are try MI.
 
#14
If you want an intellectual challenge in the TA avoid the scalies altogether. If you're as smart as you think you are try MI.
Seconded :) Granted, "professional software engineer, total nerd, utter geek, and sci-fi fan" is more typical of the dark side of MI than the infantry; but as I was sat behind a desk all week, why would I want to do the same thing at the weekend?

Of course, I decided against MI to become an infantry officer, but that was more down to people at both Great King Street and East Claremont Street than anything else. I can also vouch that the hardest I've ever had to think on my feet (too much to consider, not enough time, come up with an answer now) has been while doing infnt.. anfintry.. infanitr.. officer stuff. From what I hear, though, I'm not sure that the admin-to-fun ratio involved in gaining and holding a commission is quite as good as it used to be. Not saying we didn't work bloody hard on the admin (as you have to), there just seemed to be more opportunities to get cold, wet, muddy, and make things go bang.

My very first weekend with the Battalion as a newly-commissioned TA subaltern of the late 1980s, fresh from the UOTC, was a Divisional helicopter handling weekend. After a Saturday afternoon spent learning how to hook things underneath Puma, I was handed a platoon of Borderers, helicoptered into the exercise area as part of a composite Company Group, and spent Saturday night and Sunday morning conducting a running sequence of ambushes against the Paras in a forestry block (with S*R and GPMG..). By Sunday morning we were all knackered, I was utterly sold, and they had me for the next fifteen years (and those buggers from Gala were still winding me up about that first weekend).
 
#16
The closest I've seen to full-on programmers in the Corps is the TA element, Specialist Group Royal Signals. LIAG have some guys who are very proficient cybersecurity code monkeys, while LICSG have some chaps who are hardcore programmers, right down at chip-level, programming CPUs and designing OS kernels from the ground up. Scary bastards.

CVHQ (Royal Signals) - British Army Website
 
#17
TG3 (Now TG4) in CrabAir used to have software sustain jobs many years ago. With all the outsourcing/PFI shit that goes on these days I'd be amazed if this was still the case in any of the services, RSigs included. As others have posted here, the new cyber warfare unit may require the skills you mention but I'd wager the roles are yet to be defined (plus how big a part commercial entities may play) given that it won't be established until 2015 (see hc 106 Defence and Cyber-security (23rd May 2012)

I bet all the nice command jobs have been dished out already though.
 
#18
TG3 (Now TG4) in CrabAir used to have software sustain jobs many years ago. With all the outsourcing/PFI shit that goes on these days I'd be amazed if this was still the case in any of the services, RSigs included. As others have posted here, the new cyber warfare unit may require the skills you mention but I'd wager the roles are yet to be defined (plus how big a part commercial entities may play) given that it won't be established until 2015 (see hc 106 Defence and Cyber-security (23rd May 2012)

I bet all the nice command jobs have been dished out already though.
There are at least 2 RAF software teams manned mainly with TG1 avionics. TG4 may have some specialist niche database management jobs. I believe they are heavily involved with typhoon data.

Although I don't know for sure, id guess cyber security would be in TG4s realm.

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#20
On that Typhoon job I mentioned, there was a team of people on site called the International Air Forces Field Team; I believe one of them got a job with us after they left the RAF. As I recall, they were more on the systems engineering side of life, rather than writing software.

...amusement came when one of the IAFFT was asked why he had "GAF" on his ID badge; he explained that it was "German Air Force", as they thought that the Brits might not understand "Luftwaffe". There were some smiles as the still-recognizable bomb shelters at the factory gate were pointed out, along with the factory's original role of building gunsights for Spitfires...
 

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