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HARRIS ANNOUNCES BOWMAN PROGRESS

16 Nov 04. At a time when there a perceived knives out for the BOWMAN project from a number of quarters, Harris Systems Ltd, a wholly owned, UK-based subsidiary of Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS), announced that its Bowman high-frequency (HF) radio has been certified by the Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG). The radio was crypto-evaluated by CESG’s Information Assurance and Certification Services and approved as a High Grade Product for secure voice and data. The HF radio is the first Bowman radio to receive CESG certification.

“BOWMAN has been a huge success for Harris,” Hal McDougal, Managing Director of UK Operations, told BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold, “The use of software upgradeable COTS systems has enabled our radios to be delivered on time with an extra shift working on the production line in our plant in Basingstoke operated with ITT. The Multi-Band Falcon II we are developing in manpack and handheld mode combines HF and VHF and is receiving a great deal of international interest. The use of HF Ground wave propagation allows HF to travel over distances of 30-50kms using our new line-of-sight power-off antenna. Previously at distances of 50-`100kms there was a well-defined Skip Zone which created communications difficulties. By using the Near Vertical Incidence Skywave antenna (NVI) this problem has been solved allowing voice and data to be passed on HF over long distances.”

As the HF subsystem supplier for Bowman, Harris will provide approximately 10,000 HF radio systems to UK defence forces in manpack, vehicular and base-station configurations. In addition Harris announced that the company has received a UOR for Iraq to supply 350 additional radios for the UK and Iraqi personnel handling the Iraq elections, scheduled for January.

“The distances and urban areas of Iraq where distances of 50-300kms are the norm require more use of HF radios as current VHF systems are limited by range. General Dynamics has worked with us to supply these radios ahead of schedule to meet these requirements. The use of the new digital MELP high quality HF voice systems which gives no voice degradation over a 100W radio has been trialed with great success by the British Army in voice trails from Gibraltar to the UK where the recipient thought he was talking to the third radio in Warminster! In addition a 3rd Generation ALE linking algorithms will be available in 18 months, enabling the users to synchronize calls without individual programming using the rugged BOWMAN PCs as supplied by DRS,” McDougall continued.

“Previously, the Army’s HF system was underused because it was difficult to use and had poor voice quality,” said Hal McDougall, director of UK operations, Harris RF Communications Division. “A number of improvements have been made in the Bowman HF radio including a digital voice system with automated connectivity. This CESG designation is validation that all of these improvements are now certified to operate in a secure mode. The Bowman HF radio will now provide the Army with exceptional voice and data capability for longer range communications.”

“The CESG’s mission is to protect and promote the vital interests of the UK by providing advice and assistance on the security of communications and electronic data. CESG Cryptographic evaluation provides cryptographic verification of these products to government standards and formally approves their use by Her
Majesty’s Government and other public sector organisations,” Huw Rees Director of CESG told BATTLESPACE.

The Bowman HF radio features third-generation automatic link establishment that automates connectivity by selecting the best frequencies. The radio operates beyond-line-of-site as well as line-of-site (LOS) communications, enabling communicators to keep up with a widely distributed and fast-moving theatre of operations without the need for retransmission stations. With the new digital voice enhancements, voice quality is as clear as LOS VH

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