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UK MoD LOOKS TO STREAMLINE DIGITIZATION?

14 Sep 05. BATTLESPASCE understands that the UK MoD is looking at ways to streamline its current procurement process for Digitization and NEC projects by streamlining and refining the process. We understand that Deputy Staff (Equipment Capability) Lieutenant General Sir Robert Fulton KBE has decided that his current job does not provide enough time to dedicate his full effort to the Digitization process and NEC in particular. Thus rumours at DSEi suggest that he is looking for a new three star post as an overseer for the NEC and Digitization process.

Brigadier Rick Bounsall, Bowman Integrated Project Team Leader told BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold at our recent meeting that, “We are committed to an upgrade of further development stretching over the next 25 – 30 years for BOWMAN. To achieve this we are looking forward to a partnering arrangement between the DPA and GD for a Design Authority that will facilitate these technical and commercial challenges.”

BATTLESPACE understands that in a recent Contracts Bulletin Expressions of Interest were requested for this role which could result in the choice of a company outside GD to partner NEC requirements leaving GD to concentre on Land Systems Digitization. In the Press Conference on Tuesday, Dr Sandy Wilson Managing Director of GD (UK) said that he was clear that his company would remain as the centre of excellence for Land Systems Digitization.

“We are looking closely at the development and development of all major systems such as Cormorant, Falcon, Reacher, DII, JOCS and Watchkeeper. There is also the question of the large amount of BISA’s required to be hosted by BOWMAN and whether the system has the robustness to support all of them. JAMES and MMIT are two systems already hosted by DII and other systems may be hosted directly onto Skynet 5. The British Army has never been good at managing information; we must avoid duplication of servers. Additionally we are looking at our whole deployment of Command Posts and whether such units as the Divisional HQs require an all-armoured deployment. Project Roberts named after Maj. General Pip Roberts, Monty’s youngest Divisional Commander, will examine all aspects of these requirements,” Brigadier Andrew Gregory, Assistant Chief of Staff, Command and Battlespace Management, based at Land HQ Wilton, told the Editor at the recent interview.

BATTLESPACE has canvassed a number of potential companies to partner the MoD in this process and we understand that they include Raytheon Systems Limited, Northrop Grumman, EADS, Thales and EDS Defence, the current Team leader for DII.

The greatest problem facing the MoD at the moment is ‘Requirements Overload’ and a process is urgently required to enable Bounsall and his team to ensure that the tactical internet teething problems are solved and all other aspects of the system up and running before any more capability is required. The other urgent requirement is for the establishment of an Open Architecture for the network that will enable the systems to operate across the network not just on the one envisaged, this has already been achieved by Raytheon in its JETTS development.

One scenario envisaged could be for all the systems mentioned by Gregory and the Tactical Internet part of Bowman to be integrated into one seamless network with DII and managed by one contractor. Network and Bandwidth Management is key to the success of NEC. This would speed up the NEC process and enable the creation of the network required to support such advanced systems as Watchkeeper, Joint targeting Systems, CEC and other BISA’s not envisaged at the time of the Bowman signature.

The Niteworks system is believed to be under review and it is likely that this would play a greater role in the simulation of the huge number of Future Requirements before the Bowman team or DII are required to implement them.

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