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27 Feb 05. General Dynamics UK told BATTLESPACE that it has submitted bids for both the chassis and electronic architecture TDPs for the UK’s FRES programme. (See BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.7 ISSUE 6, 10th February 2005, FRES LOOKS TO EUROPE – U.S. COMPANIES TO BE SIDELINED? and BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.7 ISSUE 7, 21st February 2005, FRES – FITTED ‘FOR’ NOT ‘WITH’ – U.S. INDUSTRY SETS OUT ITS STALL)
The GD chassis bid is tailored around reducing the risk to the FRES programme by building on the last 5 years of the company’s own R&D investment in the Advanced Hybrid Electric Drive (AHED) Vehicle. The AHED is already at a high readiness level with over 4000km of development testing completed and thus represents a viable point of departure from which to support the FRES concepts for an IoC in the early part of the next decade. The AHED, if chosen, would allow the UK MoD to replace its current vehicle fleet with a compliant, affordable, sustainable, and transformational hybrid electric drive platform. Design Authority for the platform will reside in the UK and GDUK will be exploring how best this can facilitated over the intervening months before Main Gate decision.

GDUK commented that it is essential that at, Main Gate, MoD have a consistent set of requirements, cost and schedule, to provide a low risk programme targeted to early delivery. Their Electronic Architecture (EA) bid proposes a comprehensive risk reduction programme that will result in an affordable and enduring EA, building from, but not limited to, the significant investment made by the MoD and GDUK in Command Battlespace Management (Land). The building blocks of their Architecture are ‘commodity’ MOTS and COTS items that GD believes will provide the low risk, competitively driven, open procurement path, for the Initial Operating Capability requirements and beyond, that the MoD wants. Their point of departure for the EA development is the scaleable and modular Functional Architecture and Software Architectures of the Platform Battlefield Information Systems Application (P-BISA). The modular and scaleable P-BISA was developed to provide integrated sensor, weapon and communications systems for a number of vehicle types and roles, utilising open standard interfaces for internal and external connectivity. To date it has to date been implemented on 3 hardware architectures. Their architecture will provide for the additional Integrated Image Handling and Local Situational Awareness Requirements and other TDP interfaces within FRES.

GDUK regard the principle risks to the EA in the integration, not in the elements. GDUK already has significant SIL capabilities at their Oakdale and Newbridge sites that they will be exploiting to benefit the FRES programme by demonstrating crucial integration issues in an environment representative of already fielded combat systems. GDUK will be examining a range of possible Electronic Architectures to assist the System House and MoD in the production of the robust, comprehensive, realisable, and low risk system requirements definition that is required prior to the MG business case submission. GDUK is expecting wider industrial participation in demonstrating sub-system capability on the their EA SIL and in demonstrating the EA on potential chassis solutions.

GDUK has assembled a team to deliver the requirement in its entirety and have expanded their BowmanCIP supply chain with significant UK industry systems capability from Marshall Specialist Vehicles (HUMS), LogicaCMG (Security) and INSYS (SIL/survivability) and with support services from HVR Consulting, AgustaWestland and Lex Multipart Defence. GDUK will also bring in expertise from their other General Dynamics divisions where appropriate, allowing them to pull-through risk reduction learning from associated programmes such as FCS, IRIS and EFV (formerly known as the AAAV).

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