Sergey Nivens - Fotolia

MoD kick-starts procurement for new armed forces tactical communications system

The Ministry wants to replace aging Bowman Communications system with cutting edge networking kit by 2026

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is on the hunt for networking experts to advise the organisation on what it should use to replace its aging Bowman Communications voice and data system.

Bowman provides integrated voice and data services to members of the armed forces. It was formally introduced in 2008 as part of a £2.4bn MoD-led programme to overhaul battlefield and tactical communications.

The system is due to be replaced by 2026 and the MoD has launched Project Morpheus to seek out a replacement for it, calling on people with a background in telecommunications, wireless technologies, networking and security for advice on what its next step should be.

Incidentally, Morpheus will be used by the armed forces to procure tactical communications systems for the next 30 years, the MoD has confirmed.

The organisation said it’s particularly keen to hear from academics and businesses with experience in the aforementioned areas who can brief it on the availability of technologies – including those that might still be in the research and development phase – that might fit the bill.

Any parties interested in participating in Project Morpheus can register here.

Any technologies put forward will be sifted through by a consortium of IT, security and defence consultancies, including PA Consulting, QinetiQ, Roke Manor Research and CGI before being considered for use.

As such, each one will be judged on their security, the speed at which they permit communications, their range, ease of use, cost and how easily they can be integrated with newer technologies.

Read more about MoD procurement

Rick Mather, project lead for Morpheus at QinetiQ, said the initiative is designed to ensure smaller and lesser-known firms don’t miss out.

“We know there are lots of really exciting technology and security small to medium-sized enterprises, as well as academics, doing exactly the kind of research and innovation this project needs. 

“We also know a lot of them think these kinds of contracts always go to the same old defence companies. That’s not the case here, we’re really open to innovative – even unusual – solutions to ensure the final options are the best possible,” said Mather.

Read more on Wireless networking

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