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British Update Tactical Comms Capabilities

March 10, 2016 (Photo Credit: Courtesy of General Dynamics UK)

LONDON — Britain’s Ministry of Defence is spending £135 million upgrading the armed forces tactical communications capabilities in a deal with General Dynamics UK.

The MoD announced Thursday that the British military is to get a series of enhancements to its Bowman digital communications system. Included in the upgrade are 12,000 new data terminals and an updated version of the battle management system.

DRS Technologies is expected to be named later this month as the supplier of the data terminals.

The contract for the upgrade, known as BCIP5.6, will see deliveries of enhanced equipment get underway in 2018.

Brig. Richard Spencer, head of the MoD’s tactical communications delivery team, said the new equipment will “replace the data terminal and update software across the Bowman system to ensure ease of use, more rapid and robust data services, and improved interoperability.”

In 2014, Bowman prime contractor General Dynamics secured a £364 million contract to provide design, engineering and logistics support for the systems.

Bowman was declared in service in 2004 and has been fitted to more than 15,000 British Army vehicles, together with headquarters, warships and helicopters.  

The MoD is in the early stages of a program known as Morpheus to find a next-generation tactical communications systems.

The latest communications upgrade contract is the second boost to General Dynamics operations in South Wales in the space of a few days.

On March 7, the company announced it was starting work refurbishing a facility at Merthyr Tydfil to undertake assembly, integration and testing on the bulk of an order for 589 Ajax armored reconnaissance vehicles.

The first 100 vehicles will be delivered complete from General Dynamics' Seville, Spain, factory starting next year. The first of the South Wales vehicles will be complete by the end of 2018.  

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