Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced a new contract to provide enhanced communications kit to the UK Armed Forces.
The £175 million investment, awarded primarily to General Dynamics UK (GDUK), will create around 50 skilled jobs and secure a further 20 at the company’s headquarters in Oakdale, South Wales.
The contract will allow for the Bowman tactical communications equipment currently used by the UK military to receive a series of enhancements and upgrades that will enable the system to continue to operate for the next decade. Software enhancements will make the kit faster, improve usability and make it more compatible with our allies’ equipment. The contract will also provide 12,000 brand new data terminals for use in headquarters, on-the-soldier, as well as on ships, vehicles and aircraft.
Bowman equipment is used across the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force [RAF] including for the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank, Type 45 Destroyer and Chinook helicopter. It will be also be installed on our new armoured vehicles, ships and aircraft carriers.
The enhanced kit will deliver safe, secure voice and data communications, as well as live updates from an operational environment, helping commanders to make effective and accurate decisions in real time. Of the £175 million spend, £75 million will go towards the new 12,000 hard-wearing data terminals, while £23 million will be spent on software.
Mr Fallon made the announcement as he visited the Royal Anglian Regiment in Woolwich to witness a range of the equipment in use. He said:
This is more evidence of what this Government’s decision to grow our Defence budget can do for the UK. It will create highly skilled jobs in Wales and help our Armed Forces to keep Britain safe for years to come.
Brigadier Richard Spencer, Head of the MOD’s Battlefield and Tactical Communications and Information System delivery team said:
This contract will replace the data terminals and update software across the Bowman system to ensure ease of use, more rapid and robust data services and improved interoperability.
This new deal is good news for the Armed Forces and ensures that they will have access to the best possible tactical communications equipment for the foreseeable future.
The enhanced equipment will be delivered from 2018.