General Dynamics UK has received two contracts from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide support services for the Bowman command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) system.
Having a combined value of £364m, the contracts cover the provision of design, engineering and logistic support for the tactical radio system, which is widely used by personnel across the UK Army, Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force (RAF), over the next five years.
They are expected to secure 140 high skilled engineering jobs at GD’s Blackwood facility in south Wales, while safeguarding additional posts in its wider supply chain.
UK Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Minister Philip Dunne said the Bowman radios have played a significant role in operations for more than a decade, helping service personnel communicate sensitive information.
"I am delighted that these significant contracts will protect 140 skilled engineering jobs in south Wales, [and] allow us to deliver better value for money for the taxpayer, and, most importantly, ensure personnel on operations have the secure equipment they need," Dunne said.
General Dynamics UK chief operating officer Steve Rowbotham said: "With our proven supply chain and support infrastructure, General Dynamics UK is uniquely placed to successfully deliver these contracts in parallel and ensure that the British Armed Forces have the security of supply and support as they continue to meet operational requirements around the world."
In addition to improving the radios and repair services management, the contracts will enable competition within the supply chain to be opened up, which is expected to deliver better value for money for the taxpayer.
Equipped with an array of high-frequency (HF), very-high frequency (VHF) and ultra-high frequency (UHF) radio sets, Bowman is a digital voice and data system designed to provide secure integrated voice and data services to dismounted soldiers, individual vehicles and command headquarters up to the division level in the theatre.
The radio is currently installed on more than 15,000 military vehicles, the entire Royal Navy fleet and all of its major helicopters supporting land operations, including the Apache, Chinook, Merlin and Lynx.
Image: UK soldiers using the PRC-255 medium-power VHF radio in Afghanistan. Photo: Sergeant Barry Pope, Crown copyright.