bowman radio

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has launched a new project to develop a new approach to land and littoral communications that will support the future military operations.

Dubbed Morpeheus, the project aims to consider and develop options to replace the existing ageing Bowman tactical communications system, and eventually address the requirements of the UK Army, Royal Marines and the Royal Air Force Regiment.

The MoD is inviting academics and businesses, especially small medium enterprises involved in areas such as telecommunications, wireless, IT, networks and security to feed expertise and ideas on new technological approaches into the project.

"The key here is to examine all the potential options out there to identify the most operationally effective and cost-effective solutions."

In particular, the project will establish options that make the best use of current and emerging technology to develop a system that can be evolved and managed in a cost-effective manner.

The Morpheus Systems House, led by PA Consulting and comprising QinetiQ, Roke Manor Research and CGI, has been tasked to draw together different ideas proposed by the participants into potential options.

QinetiQ Morpeheus project lead Rick Mather said: "The key here is to examine all the potential options out there to identify the most operationally effective and cost-effective solutions.

"We know there are lots of really exciting technology and security SMEs, as well as academics, doing exactly the kind of research and innovation this project needs. We also know a lot of them think that these kinds of contracts always go to the same old defence companies.

"That’s not the case here, we’re really open to innovative, and even unusual solutions to ensure that the final options are the best possible."

Outlining which technologies and software are needed to securely get information from point A to B, the range of options will be addressed by the Morpheus Systems House, with the most appropriate long-term business models for acquisition and operation.

The selection process will consider account security, speed of communication, range, ease of use and cost, as well as deployment and manpower required for operation.

Beyond the design phase, the project is also expected to serve as the main vehicle for the procurement of the UK Armed Forces’ tactical communications capability for the next 30 years.

Image: UK military personnel using Bowman radios on operations in Afghanistan. Photo: courtesy of the UK Government.