ITT TAPS THE MIDDLE EAST
By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE
13 Feb 07. It seems an age since the original ITT solution for Bowman was launched in 1992. Brickbats have been thrown at the project and the blame game prevails as to who is responsible for the current cost overrun, nothing changes for large defence projects!
But, one company, and BOWMAN Partner, ITT, has demonstrated that not only does technology transfer work, it benefits both the recipient nation and the supplier. ITT’s BOWMAN Technology Transfer package, unlike the one being negotiated for JSF, has passed seamlessly between the U.S. and the U.K. and has flowed both ways, one enabling the U.K. to offer the most advanced version of its SINCGARS radio for BOWMAN, the ADR+ and U.K. technology has been fed into upgrades for U.S. versions of SINCGARS. ITT is the largest VHF radio builder in the world having delivered a staggering 340,000 SINCGARS to date with 120,000 radios in backlog. SINCGARS is ‘The soldier’s combat radio,’ deployed by 34 countries giving five generations of radios, with continuous improvements. ITT Defense is a large segment of ITT Corporation with $3.6 billion sales in 2006, 60% product/40% services with 15,000 employees.
The company’s literature on the BOWMAN radio says it all: ADR+ is the VHF vehicle and manpack radio member of the Advanced Digital Radio (ADR) family of VHF radios developed initially for the UK BOWMAN programme. ADR+ is fully compatible with the ADRP VHF Portable radio and the ADRA VHF Airborne radio. The ADR family shares common RF and baseband circuitry and software to support mixed secure voice/data RF nets, IP networking and GPS position reporting. The radios are equipped with embedded IP routers and GPS. The ADR+ is designed to meet the stringent cosite and EMC environments of the modern battlefield. As a Manpack radio, it utilizes a rechargeable Lithium-ion smart battery which, together with the ADR+ power-saving modes, provides a long operational time between battery recharges. As a vehicle radio, it is designed for tracked, wheeled, and shipborne environments. Hardware architecture is optimised for easy implementation of integrated country-specific cryptography. The ITT ADR family of VHF Tactical radios is fully software reprogrammable, allowing future enhancements to functionality, waveforms, and data networking and routing.
But, that is only half the story. Ron Manley of ITT told BATTLESPACE at the recent IDEX Exhibition that ITT had satisfied the £72m Offset requirement on BOWMAN five years ahead of schedule through the development of the production facilities at Basingstoke and the new family of ‘exportable’ BOWMAN radios, Centaur.
“The U.K. MoD has benefited from Royalties on sales of Centaur through the NIMCIS Program to the Dutch Marines, the Belgian Army’s HCDR version and Poland which also has HCDRs. We are also looking at Dutch and Australian Army requirements. Indeed the Belgians have benefited from an improved Multicast HCDR which offers huge benefits to the user from the current BOWMAN Omnicast version, which the U.K. MoD is aware of, but has not chosen. In addition we have been running some exciting trials with the Royal Navy using HCDR as a self-forming network between different vessels linked to the Skynet 5 Satcom system,” Ron Manley told BATTLESPACE. The RAF is also looking at HCDR for a number of Applications,” Manley continued.
“Development of the Centaur family of radios gives ITT Corporation a new avenue to gain exports of radios and other ancillaries, as we are currently seeing in Iraq. The Iraqi Army has a huge requirement for radios to replace their ageing and unsuitable, in that climate, Motorola radios. At present it has not been decided whether the radios will be bought under FMS or a direct purchase from either the U.S. or U.K. Governments. ITT can supply SINCGARS radios from the U.S. and Centaur radios from the U.K. using the SINCARS or BOWMAN waveforms respectivel