The defence industry was largely responsible for the birth of the technical publications industry.
In World War II, the technical manuals for heavy bombers were often less than 50 pages long. Now aircraft legislation demands massive documentation suites to cover every aspect of the aircraft in either hard copy or electronically tagged soft copy.
Paradoxically, whilst the technical publications industry blossomed in the 60s, 70s and 80s - as the documentation requirements became more stringent - the number of practitioners dropped alarmingly. Now there are but a handful of true technical publications companies.
Pennant has been developing its excellent reputation over the last 60 years and can claim to be one of the inaugural members of the community.
By offering an excellent service, enthusiastically adopting technology and by employing astute managers and capable staff, Pennant has ridden the crest of the wave and survives to provide an unparalleled service to HM Ministry of Defence as well as other defence agencies throughout the world.
In addition to compliance with the more traditional military specifications, e.g. AvP 70, AESP, NES and JSP, Pennant staff are experienced in IETM production. They also have relevant experience of the S1000D and 2000M specifications and structured editing tools such as XML and SGML.
Rolls-Royce Case Study
Rolls-Royce is one of the many main contractors to HM Ministry of Defence who recognise Pennant's capability in providing broad spectrum technical support.
Pennant's involvement in Rolls-Royce's Field Electrical Power Source (FEPS) was to perform a training needs analysis to establish the level of treatment required for the prospective target audience. From this knowledge Pennant produced technical manuals to AESP standard, a training implementation plan and full course material to support the introduction of FEPS into service. Pennant then delivered instructor-led courses to personnel from the RAF, The British Army and The Royal Marines in UK and in Germany.
This integrated approach paid great benefits to Rolls-Royce and the service personnel concerned.
Having the same company write the manuals, prepare the course material and deliver the course, means only one learning curve which saves time and associated costs whilst simultaneously boosting working efficiency. Additionally, graphics and 'text bites' can be reused further reducing production time and contributing to an even more economic business model.
The learners derived an enormous benefit from the 'one voice' approach, i.e. there was total consistency in terminology and subject matter between technical documentation, course material and the FEPS generator itself.
Pennant's integrated approach to contracts is manifest in many areas and this, together with their ability to understand and correctly interpret complex requirements is the cornerstone on which their success has been built.
Thales Underwater Systems Limited - Hunt Class Mine-Hunter IETM Data Modules Contract
Pennant was awarded a contract, by Thales Underwater Systems Limited, to supply data modules for the Sonar 2193 Interactive Electronic Technical Manual (IETM). This contract followed the successful implementation of Operator and Maintainer CBT courseware and draws on the material generated for the CBT thereby yielding overall project cost savings.
The original CBT contract was to provide two training suites, associated courseware for maintainers and operators of the 2193 Sonar and the Nautis 3 Command Systems being fitted to the Hunt Class Mine Hunters as part of the mid-life update programme.
The Operator CBT enabled students to undertake self paced learning on the capabilities and operating procedures of the new systems prior to undertaking real time scenario based team training in a simulator known as the Command and Operator Trainer. Following this training, operators were qualified to operate the on-board equipment. The Maintainer CBT suite was used for both conversion and initial training on the new equipment types before maintainers join Hunt Class for the first time. The nature of the new equipment requires a very different approach to diagnosing and rectifying system faults. The CBT modules taught the use of the Built-in Test facilities and tested the students' understanding of the systems and how to maintain them.
The additional contract for Sonar 2193 IETM Data Modules was awarded to Pennant on the basis that, having produced the graphical design and illustration for the CBT courseware, there was significant data object re-use, and associated cost savings to be obtained from this approach. Pennant was uniquely qualified to undertake this work and has now been awarded three branches of data modules with the expectation of further work to follow. The data modules are compliant with the AECMA 1000D standards and are being assembled into the IETM at the Templecombe site.
Pennant has over 22 years experience in managing this diverse contract which cover a wide range of service deliverables. These range from technical writing and illustrating, compliant with military specifications, to full design and media services. The contract is managed in close cooperation with DLO personnel to ensure the combined team obtains the required results.
Pennant's experience in publications and design work has been essential in managing a high number of tasks which run concurrently through the production offices at any one time. These span the spectrum of our services, covering the production of Air Publications, AESPs and graphic design for annual reports, data sheets, display panels, animated media and training solutions.