23 Sep 03. UK Defence Procurement Minister, Lord Bach, opened the new joint ITT and Harris BOWMAN manufacturing facility at Basingstoke. The new facility will create an initial 90 jobs with the prospect of 50 more when production of the radios ramps up post-acceptance of BOWMAN in 2004. Lord Bach said, “It is refreshing to see two world class companies working together to each other’s mutual benefit.”
The plant will produce 40000ITT radios and 10000 Harris radios as well as a number of ancillary devices such as power amplifiers and vehicle harnesses. ITT is producing the ADR+ range of radios which includes the portable Advanced Digital Radio Portable (ADRP) version, the Advanced Digital Radio Airborne (ADRA), the Radio Control and Display Unit (RCDU) and the advanced High Capacity Data Radio (HCDR) radio which is now entering trials with the BOWMAN team. The backbone of the Harris BOWMAN product is the RF-5800H-MP050, a member of the Falcon II family of HF radios, which have been successfully sold round the world. These will be produced at the rate of 800 ADR+ a month giving a total of 2000 LRUs in a lean manufacturing facility based on the experiences gained from the ITT Sigma process initiated in the US plants.
Both radios have leveraged R&D from the US Force XXI programme and the huge investment made by the MoD in BOWMAN. The ADR+ range of radios was developed by ITT in the UK and the US using new software technology to upgrade the existing SINGARS radio. Paul Taylor of Harris told BATTLESPACE that part of the success of the Falcon II radios and the Harris success in JTRS was due to the knowledge gained from the MoD during the initial BOWMAN evaluation in the early nineties. “A number of the features of the Falcon II family of radios can be traced back to our initial involvement in the BOWMAN requirement prior to the formation of the Archer consortium. This R&D has enabled us to build on sales to the US Armed Forces. Harris has traditionally been an export manufacturer, the BOWMAN radio contract is our biggest win to date.” The Harris radio comes in three forms, the 01 20-Watt low power Manpack version with built-in GPS and Power Amplifier, the 02 low power vehicle version without internal GPS and the 03 vehicle with external power amplifier.
The plant is assembling the radios using sub-contractors sourced from the UK, these include TTEms, TEKNOFLEX and Solectron for Printed Circuit Boards and ITT Canon and Amphenol for connectors. The connectors will be brought in as assemblies not individual components. Amphenol, which has worked on the BOWMAN project since the early days with the Crossbow Consortium, was disappointed not to win the fibre optic contract which ahs gone to Stratos in the US. ITT and Cogent are supplying the COMSEC whilst NETCOM of Illinois, USA, the network interference filtering system.
BATTLESPACE Editor, Julian Nettlefold, asked Lord Bach what was the current status of the UK’s involvement and whether this facility would act a ‘centre of excellence’ for any UK involvement. He sidestepped the question leaving it to BOWMAN IPT leader Pete Worrall to explain that the BOWMAN Waveform would form part of the JTRS waveform library. However BATTLESPACE’s feature of JTRS ‘SOFTWARE RADIO REVIEW – PART 2,’By Adam Baddely, Deputy Editor, BATTLESPACE,) in our DSEi September issue suggested that co-operation with the US on JTRS was greater than suggested here. Colonel Don Steele, formerly the Falcon supremo at the MoD is now in Washington working with the JTRS JPO.
A bi-lateral was agreed this year with a contract to ITT Industries to demonstrate interoperability of five modes of the BOWMAN-VHF with JTRS through a BOWMAN VHF subset in an SCA compliant waveform. Funding for this phase of the work came to a total of $2.8million with $1.6m coming from the JPO, $600,000 for the US Government and a further $600,000 from the British government. The demonstration of this phase of the work is due to begin in J