Airbus, Fujitsu and Thales UK have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work collaboratively on the upcoming Systems Integrator (SI) opportunity for the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD), Land Environment Tactical Communications and Information Systems programme – known as LE TacCIS.
Following the signature of the MOU, the partners have formed team ICELUS led by Airbus that will bring together a trusted collective of MOD strategic partners who have a unique breadth of expertise of defence communications networks. ICELUS will offer pioneering change through a coherent systems integration approach to ultimately deliver operational effectiveness and information advantage to the end user, whilst sustaining a UK centric, defence industrial base. The three partners will be able to jointly explore how their respective unique expertise and solutions can be combined in order to put forward the best-possible proposals with regard to capabilities and competitiveness for this major programme.
ICELUS will focus on the upcoming LE TacCIS System Integrator (SI) opportunity to lead on the design and integration of the products & services for applications, infrastructures and networks. The LE TacCIS System Integrator is expected to be contracted by 2023/2024.
The LE TacCIS programme consists of multiple sub-programmes and projects with the aim to deliver the next generation of tactical military communications in the land environment, providing the means to make informed and timely decisions enabled by agile Communication Information Systems (CIS).
LE TacCIS is designed to be resilient, working securely in a congested and contested cyber battlespace. It will degrade gracefully and recover when attacked, continuing to provide essential Command and Control (C2) services and capabilities. It will integrate with other systems to allow the quick and easy sharing of information between platforms and weapon systems, delivering full-spectrum, multi-domain effects.
In contrast to the current system’s single source prime supplier model, elements of the LE TacCIS programme will be competed from industry who will be incentivised to deliver increased system agility, capability and value for money.
BATTLESPACE Comment: This is a very strong consortium to deliver LE TacCIS and may cause a wake up call to other competitors as ICELUS provides a technology solution for LE TacCIS from one source but with the benefit of a competed model. The Editor noted the somewhat barbed comment, ‘In contrast to the current system’s single source prime supplier model,’ which is no doubt directed at GDUK, the current incumbent! Expect more of the existing supplier base to form consortia or join ICELUS.
The other interesting fact emerging from this Release is the date that the contract is expected, ‘The LE TacCIS System Integrator is expected to be contracted by 2023/2024.’ This suggests that BOWMAN will be extended for longer than expected given the expected budget for LE TACIS which is budgeted at some £ 3 billion, thus the LE TACIS budget can be moved forward as a future cost given the current COVID restrictions can Once again as with BOWMAN, the vehicle manufacturers will have to design the vehicles such as BOXER and Challenger 3 with a BOWMAN suite but allow for a design change in the 2024 timeframe. This will create more costs as the BOWMAN systems will have to be replaced with LE TACIS. Ironically the Editor will be 70 in 2024 so as BATTLESPACE was started in 1997 based on my experience in launching the BOWMAN radio for ITT in 1992, LE TACIS could usher in a new Editor?