British Army's new multi-million pound Y2K-ready system doesn't work in test : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I'm sorry, my hard drive is dying and I can't access this long enough to copy and paste. The article is in yesterday's Electronic Telegraph and you need to be subscribed (free) to access. Once/if you're subscribed, easiest way to access is to use the Search function--why not check the last few days in all sections for "millennium bug," see what else comes up with it.

-- Old Git (, August 18, 1999


Thanks for the assist, Diane! =99999999&pg=/et/99/8/17/narm17.html

Tuesday 17 August 1999

Armed Forces #700m [$1050m] system slips on a Millennium banana skin By Robert Uhlig

A MINISTRY of Defence demonstration to prove that a key satellite system is Millennium bug-proof left senior officers looking embarrassed yesterday when it failed to send a one-word message to a tent 100 yards away.

An audience of military VIPs went to RAF Oakhangar, Hants, to be convinced that Britain's military communications would continue into 2000. But after a series of hitches, Maj Gen Tony Raper, chief executive of the Defence Communications Services Agency, admitted that "things have not surprisingly gone wrong".

Wg Cdr Mark Sheard, the station commander of 1001 Signals Unit, told the guests that "removing the Millennium bug has been accorded the highest priority in the MoD, apart from operational commitments".

However, a spokesman admitted yesterday that the ministry had missed several deadlines for Millennium debugging. About 81 per cent of critical systems are ready but several non-critical ones will not be. To prove that the #700 million system relied on by ministers, the Armed Forces and Nato was bug-free, Wg Cdr Sheard's signallers spun the clocks to Dec 31.

Three soldiers were sent to the tent - supposedly in Kosovo - to await their orders. Then things started to go wrong. An operator, attempting to use a secure telephone to warn the troops to prepare themselves for the start of the simulation, explained: "We're having difficulty getting through to Kosovo."

Half an hour later the demonstration was reconvened. Wg Cdr Sheard blamed a power failure. He explained: "We did not expect it. This proves our ability to bring things back on track."

Then, using military e-mail marked "Secret, UK Eyes Only", the signallers tried to send two one-word messages to the tent. The first made the 50,000 mile trip via satellite in seconds. The second - containing the code word banana - was sent four times but did not arrive.

While one of the dignitaries joked that "it does not work either side of the Millennium", the operator continued to cajole the Joint Operations Communications System to work.

"Test message reads banana, repeat banana, please confirm receipt over JOCS," the operator typed. The codeword still wasn't getting through, so the demonstrators moved on to another scenario.

Using a secure telephone system, a signaller dialled up HMS Richmond near the Falklands. This worked but, when asked to tell the time, the respondent said it was 2122 when the answer should have been 0009 on Jan 1.

Maj Gen Raper said: "He misrepresented himself. He was trying to take the four-hour time difference into account." Finally, 12 minutes into the next Millennium and 15 minutes after the signallers had given up hope of getting their banana to the tent, the soldiers inside said it had arrived.

The major general added: "When we get to December 31 things will go wrong. What we have to do is determine what is a technical failure and what is a Year 2000 failure. Technical faults happen all the time."

When asked why things had gone wrong, a spokesman answered: "I do not know. We did it the day before and it worked."

-- Old Git (, August 18, 1999.

Y2K will cause things to fail in new and wonderous ways....


-- Jack (, August 18, 1999.

Old Git, I finally purchased some coffee this evening.

Tomorrow I'll buy at least ten more cans.

I'm anticipating severe shortages.

Thanks for prodding me into action.

-- Randolph (, August 18, 1999.

And this, boys and girls, is why we test. Which...oh my gosh...that's what this was. Well gee...who would have guessed that.

-- shaking head (, August 19, 1999.

And isn't it lucky they're among those who decided not to fix on failure? Perhaps if you stop shaking your head you might be able to formulate a cogent thought.

-- Old Git (, August 19, 1999.

Fill In The Blank:

For every 100 companies/services that does test ______ does not.

Nothing to shake your head at.

-- CygnusXI (, August 19, 1999.

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