The British military’s tactical communications and data system, known as Bowman, is to get a series of upgrades which will make it simpler for troops to use.
The new upgrades to Bowman will also provide enhanced battle planning tools, a more stable and robust tactical internet, and improved situational awareness.
Bowman’s secure radio communications have been used on operations since 2005, together with a basic data capability.
The Bowman system has been developed and integrated by General Dynamics UK into over 13,000 British Army vehicles, together with headquarters, ships, and helicopters.
The Ministry of Defence is also purchasing an additional 3,400 radios in order to meet the demands of current operations and their associated training needs.
The latest planned upgrade, known as BCIP5, will be fielded as a software and hardware upgrade across the Army’s vehicle and man-portable radio fleets.
BCIP5 is already rolling out to Royal Navy ships, the Royal Marines, the RAF Regiment and specialist Army signals units.
Quentin Davies, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, said:
“Bowman is a step change from the old days of analogue radios and manual code-books. It has been used successfully in Iraq and Afghanistan, where secure, faster communications and simple data exchange is saving lives on the front line.
“Working together with industry through the Bowman prime contractor, General Dynamics UK, means that we are at the vanguard of military communications capability. It allows us to adapt constantly to technological advances and the evolving demands of life on operations.”
Bowman CIP (Combat, Infrastructure and Platform) Battlefield Information Systems Application, which has achieved its formal, full-system acceptance, is a spiral programme of incremental development expected to take place over 25-30 years.