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By Adam Baddeley, Deputy Editor, BATTLESPACE

13 sep 05. BATTLESPACE Deputy Editor interviewed Brigadier Rick Bounsall Bowman Integrated Project Team Leader, about the success of the Harris Falcon HF radios exhibited on their stand at DSEi.

“The Bowman contract was awarded in 2001—and here we are already deploying equipment. The program has been successful in putting capability into the hands of the users as early as we possibly can.”

Brigadier Bounsall, Bowman Integrated Project Team Leader

Journalist Adam Baddeley condensed an interview conducted with Brigadier Rick Bounsall about the effort to get Bowman HF radios on the battlefield. As Bounsall describes, the combination of reliable radios and dedicated customer support from Harris helped the UK Ministry of Defence get the job done even faster than expected.

“Bowman and future operations are inextricably linked,” said Bounsall. “Bowman is not simply a replacement for the old radio systems that preceded it. It is closer to being a command information system. It brings together good communications and good security, but also good operating systems that enable the warfighter to operate in what we call a Network-Enabled Capability (NEC). The fundamental part of that is giving all war fighters, down to the section level, secure voice communications and secure data communications.”

Prior to joining the Defence Procurement Agency as Bowman & Land Digitization Integrated Project Team Leader, Brigadier Bounsall was Director Equipment Capability Command, Control and Information Infrastructure. He was responsible for Bowman requirements for several years, enabling him to get the widest possible perspective on the program’s progress.

Harris RF Communications is the supplier of the HF subsystem to prime contractor General Dynamic UK, which was awarded the £1.9 billion Bowman contract in July 2001. Bowman is a joint program that will reach each service.

“We have already converted 12 Mechanised Brigade (12 Mech Bde) and they have now deployed, so we are a significant way into that program. We have also started converting 7 Armoured Bde with the remainder of the British Army’s brigades still to convert,” explained Bounsall.

“During this year we will install Bowman on Royal Navy vessels, equipping five of the Royal Navy’s six capital ships; all of the frigates and destroyers and up to 100 minor war ships. That is a significant amount of maritime deployment. Alongside that is 3 Commando Bde who are going through their conversion program now.

We are not overlooking our Royal Air Force colleagues either. We are looking at deploying the Bowman family of radios into our helicopter fleet to make sure we get good connectivity with our air-maneuver forces.”


The UK 12 Mech Bde is the first brigade to have the Bowman fit and it is now deployed in Iraq as part of Operation Telic with a Core Bowman capability. The Brigade has been the UK’s trial brigade for the Bowman program.

From 2003 and throughout the last year the trials were focused on providing the expertise at the troop level to test and understand how the family of Bowman radios could be best used. The radios have been deployed in all 12 Mech Bde vehicles and headquarters.

“The tempo of operations that we have had with Bowman was such that the decision was made to try and advance the deployment of the 12 Mech Bde with a Core Bowman capability.”

The Core Bowman gives a substantial portion of the final Bowman capability that will be seen on Brigades converted later in Bowman’s cycle.

“What will that give us in Iraq? Most importantly, it will give us secure voice. That in itself increases operational tempo. It gives commanders the ability to send orders without the need to encode them, right down to half-section level. It also gives us much better coverage and in particular the HF radio set will be giving us c

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