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10 Mar 16. General Dynamics United Kingdom Limited has been awarded £135m contract from the UK Ministry of Defence to provide enhanced Bowman tactical communications systems to the British Armed Forces. The BCIP5.6 contract will allow for the Bowman tactical communications equipment currently used by the UK military to receive a series of enhancements and upgrades. These include the roll-out of approximately 12,000 new data terminals and an updated version of the Battle Management System.
The contract creates 50 new jobs as well as sustaining the jobs of 20 highly-skilled engineers at the General Dynamics UK’s headquarters in Oakdale, South Wales, with further roles being secured in the company’s wider supply chain.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “This is more evidence of what this Government’s decision to grow our Defence budget can do for the UK. It will create highly skilled jobs in Wales and help our Armed Forces to keep Britain safe for years to come.”
Brigadier Richard Spencer, Head of the MOD’s Battlefield and Tactical Communications and Information System delivery team said: “This contract will replace the data terminals and update software across the Bowman system to ensure ease of use, more rapid and robust data services and improved interoperability. This new deal is good news for the Armed Forces and ensures that they will have access to the best possible tactical communications equipment for the foreseeable future.”
Chief Operating Officer of General Dynamics UK, Steve Rowbotham, commented: “This contract ensures the British Armed Forces have access to the best tactical communications. We are delighted to continue our successful partnership, which has delivered world-class secure tactical communications to the British Armed Forces, and to build on this unique UK sovereign capability.”
Bowman’s secure radio communications, declared in service in 2004, have been used in operations since 2005. The Bowman system has been developed and integrated by General Dynamics UK into more than 15,000 British Army vehicles, together with headquarters, ships and helicopters. The enhanced equipment will be delivered, beginning in 2018, and will support an increased operational tempo.
10 Mar 16. Rapid Succession of Attachments have been made to the Airlander 10 in the Final Journey to First Flight. The Airlander 10 is almost complete and ready to leave the hangar after a succession of momentous attachments to the hull. The first of the major attachments to the hull was the lower port fin. The massive 11 x 9m fin was lifted onto the hull by a huge crane and then attached by our expert team. Next it was the turn for one of the four 350hp, 4 litre V8 direct injection, turbocharged diesel engines to be hoisted up onto the stern of the hull; it was attached to five carbon composite battens that had been secured in readiness. Even though this was done after home time many of our proud members of staff stayed to watch as history was made.
There was no chance for a rest after the huge engine was fitted as the payload module was delivered and manoeuvred under the enormous hull. The payload module is the area behind the cockpit where the passengers or cargo will go and is yet another light but durable carbon composite structure. Following this the upper starboard fin was affixed using a crane and two cherry pickers. Earlier this week saw the first LERX (Leading-edge root extension) being affixed to the port fin and yesterday, 9th March 2016, the other upper fin was affixed to the hull, as well as the second pylon; the pylon is on the side of the hull at the front of the Airlander and will house one of the vectored engines, which will rotate during take-off and landing. By the end of this month the final attachments will have been made and the payload module completed, in readiness f