DEVELOPING THE TACTICAL GATEWAY
By Julian Nettlefold
BATTLESPACE meets Commodore Jay Hart, Head of the DE&S Bowman and Tactical Communication and Information Systems (BATCIS) Team
“The CWID Exhibition this year clearly showed that the Command and Battlespace Management (Land) community has come a long way in developing new applications for the Tactical Net beyond the original BISAs, seeking to use the upgraded Bowman Capability as a backbone?”
“Yes, we are keen to exploit these new applications for the Tactical Net. We are also working together with General Dynamics UK (GDUK ) to develop the Tactical Net Gateway which aims to provide seamless connectivity with other networks in order to fully exploit these new systems.
On July 2nd this year two contracts, together worth £231 million, were awarded to GDUK by the U.K. Ministry of Defence to upgrade the Bowman system.
The contracts will provide: Improved performance and sustainability through proactive obsolescence management; Increased quantities of equipment to meet user needs; Optimisation of Bowman system performance through improvements to planning and system management applications; Improved interoperability with other UK and Allied systems; Improved Bowman CIP in-service support solution.
Bowman CIP (BCIP) is a tactical command and control system employed by the three Services. It is a fully secure digital system that provides the Armed Forces with secure voice communications, battle management applications and improved situational awareness in the Land Environment. BCIP comprises the Bowman radio system and the ComBat battle management application together with specialist IT equipment to allow its use in Headquarters, on the man platform and in vehicles.
“GDUK recently announced new contracts for Bowman; could you give us more details to the enhancements this will provide?”
“The contract confirmed GDUK’s role as the Prime Contractor supporting Bowman for the foreseeable future. This includes continuing to support Bowman at home, abroad and in theatre. In addition the contract provides a vital technology refresh which includes an upgrade of the DRS data terminals, managing obsolescence and increasing performance and a migration to Windows XP to meet user expectations and needs while addressing software obsolescence. In addition we have increased the scaling for certain Bowman system components, for example e crypto fill devices and antennas. Finally we have improved algorithms in response to feedback from trials and experience in theatre.”
“Has the implementation of Bowman CIP been a success?”
“Yes, after a slow start which had much to do with a lack of understanding of the system and training, Bowman CIP is now delivering major benefits to our Forces deployed on operations today. Operational experience in both theatres demonstrates that BCIP 4 (the current in-service version) is delivering a vital capability that has improved the speed and quality of tactical communications, thus enhancing the tempo of operations. Bowman CIP is a continuing programme that will update and refresh the system’s capabilities over its lifetime to reflect the advance of technology and the evolving needs of our people on operations.”
One of the two contracts, known as Capability Release (CR) 1.5, is worth £119 million and is the first update and refresh of the system’s capabilities and reflects advances in technology. The second contract, valued at £112 million, will provide technical support for the Bowman programme and will include repair, field services and the provision of spares and is the first increment in a Long Term Support Solution.
“What have been the main benefits from The Capability Release (CR) 1.5?”
“Capability Release (CR) 1.5 and Long Term Support Solution acquisition will provide a capability refresh, replacing obsolete equipment and technology with a modern through-life supported capability. The use of secure voice has been a ma