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14 Aug 02. BAE SYSTEMS C4ISR and Thales have been awarded two funded contracts by the United Kingdom’s Defence Procurement Agency (DPA) to prepare a planning baseline for the forthcoming Assessment Phase of the Ministry of Defence’s Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) programme.

This planning phase will encompass extensive detailing of the methodologies, processes and technologies that will be used to ensure the successful low risk delivery of FIST systems to the British Army. FIST will be a key enabler on the future battlefield, bringing the advantages of digitisation to the individual soldier. Equipping the section with an integrated suite of FIST systems will greatly enhance its effectiveness in key capability areas of C4I (communications and situational awareness), lethality (weapons and sighting systems), sustainability (logistics), survivability (body armour and stealth) and mobility (weight and navigation).

Potential equipment under consideration includes thermal weapon sights, night vision, helmet-mounted/head-up tactical displays, GPS navigation and radio communications. Final equipment selection will be based on the conclusive evidence of increased effectiveness derived from the forthcoming 3-year assessment phase, commencing in 2003.

This four-month activity, valued at £250k, will create two alternative proposals from industry for the full Assessment Phase of the FIST soldier modernisation project. Competitive assessment will then enable the DPA to down-select to a single contractor to undertake the three-year, £15 million full Assessment Phase, the results from which will be used to underpin the Ministry’s Main Gate approval process for the full FIST programme in 2006.

BAE SYSTEMS C4ISR will co-ordinate progress across the company’s centres of excellence and its international partners. It will continue to adopt an innovative, partnership-focused approach to the FIST requirement and oversee the application of the company’s world-class systems integration skills.

C4ISR is also managing – and seeking synergy with – parallel activities being undertaken by BAE SYSTEMS to meet the UK’s Indirect Fire Precision Attack, Future Rapid Effects System and Watchkeeper Unmanned Aerial Vehicle programmes, ensuring that its world-class domain expertise and systems integration skills create synergy between related, network enhanced military capability programmes.

The BAE SYSTEMS-led team will also follow up earlier Supplier Conferences – aimed at identifying ‘best-of-breed’, high value adding, specialist and niche technologies for use in a FIST solution within the company’s world-class systems integration processes – with similar international partnership initiatives.

Team Leader Murray Fullerton comments: “Our low-risk, value-for-money approach to FIST will bring the benefits of the integration of the individual infantry soldier into the high tempo digitized battlespace, which is the focus of significant investment by the Ministry. It will also increase the situational awareness, flexibility, protection, mobility, firepower and overall effectiveness of the infantry section.

This will be done within an open overall architecture and whole-life support environment provided by BAE SYSTEMS’ internationally respected systems integration expertise. Strengthening the domestic industrial base, this expertise will also be transferable to other soldier modernisation programmes around the world.”

Thales has active involvement in all of the major soldier modernisation programmes around the world including the USA’s Land Warrior, France’s FELIN, Normans in Norway and IdZ in Germany. The success of the Thales FIST bid at this crucial stage is further evidence of the company’s demonstrable expertise in soldier modernisation and builds upon the experience gained during the FIST technology demonstration phase for which Thales was the prime con

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