General Dynamics has won £330 million (U.S. $411 million) deal from UK Ministry of Defence to develop the first phase of the British military’s next-generation tactical communications and information system.
The 45-month program for the British Army is the initial phase of a project, known as Morpheus, aimed at modernizing communications, command and control systems across the three armed services by the 2020s, UK ministry of defense announced Thursday.
General Dynamics will act as the MoD’s transition partner evolving the Army’s current Bowman tactical communications network into a more open, agile architecture known as Evolve to Open.
It is expected that this new open architecture will enable emerging technologies to be rapidly exploited for tacking increasing threats as well as enhance interoperability with allies, the company said in a statement.
The General Dynamics-developed Bowman system was declared in service in 2004, and since then the Oakdale, south Wales-based arm of the company has supported and updated the Bowman system in a series of contracts, culminating in a £135 million deal with the MoD last year for a number of enhancements known as BCIP 5.6.
Deliveries of the enhanced BCIP 5.6 equipment, including 12,000 new data terminals, are due to get underway next year.
The budget-strapped British did look at replacing Bowman but last year decided that was not a viable option and instead have opted to evolve the current system.
The latest contract will eventually trigger a series of further procurement competitions for new equipment, said Brig. Richard Spencer, head of the MoD’s battlefield and tactical communications and information system delivery team.
“The transition partner contract is just the first of many procurement projects to deliver the Morpheus Evolve to Open baseline over the next few years. This first contract opens the door for numerous industry opportunities to contribute to the next generation of battlefield communications,” Spencer said.