News story

Communications contract secures 140 jobs in Wales

More than a hundred jobs in south Wales are being sustained by a £364 million investment in military communications.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A soldier equipped with a personal role radio during operations in Afghanistan (library image) [Picture: Corporal Paul Morrison, Crown copyright]
A soldier equipped with a personal role radio on operations in Afghanistan

The Ministry of Defence has awarded two 5-year contracts to General Dynamics UK to support the Bowman radio system used by UK armed forces personnel.

General Dynamics UK will provide design, engineering and logistic support for the radio system that is used by service personnel across the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

The work will sustain the jobs of 140 highly skilled engineers at General Dynamics UK’s site in Blackwood near Newport in south Wales, with further roles being secured in the company’s wider supply chain.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne said:

For more than a decade, Bowman radios have played a vital role on operations, helping our personnel communicate sensitive information.

I am delighted that these significant contracts will protect 140 skilled engineering jobs in south Wales, allow us to deliver better value for money for the taxpayer, and, most importantly, ensure personnel on operations have the secure equipment they need.

This is more good news for south Wales ahead of the Nato summit later this year.

Soldiers in Afghanistan using VHF radio
Soldiers on operations in Afghanistan using the PRC-255 medium-power VHF radio (library image) [Picture: Sergeant Barry Pope, Crown copyright]

Bowman radios allow personnel on land, at sea and in the air to communicate on operations around the world. The radios use an encrypted frequency to share intelligence and increase situational awareness and have seen extensive service in Afghanistan by troops on patrol, on Royal Navy ships during relief efforts in the Philippines, and by the Royal Air Force when providing air support to land operations.

Chief Operating Officer of General Dynamics UK Steve Rowbotham said:

With our proven supply chain and support infrastructure, General Dynamics UK is uniquely placed to successfully deliver these contracts in parallel and ensure that the British armed forces have the security of supply and support as they continue to meet operational requirements around the world.

We are delighted to be able to continue with the successful partnership that has delivered world-class secure tactical communications to the British armed forces, building on this unique UK sovereign capability.

The new contract will see improved management of the radios and repair services. It will also allow competition within the supply chain to be opened up which is expected to deliver better value for money for the taxpayer.

Published 1 May 2014