Archer hits jobs bullseye

Archer hits jobs bullseye
Jon Mainwaring Archer Communications Systems has announced a list of future competitive tenders between subcontractors for the supply of equipment and services to the ?2bn Bowman tactical battlefield communications system. At the official launch last week, the Archer consortium (see box) announced that the Bowman programme will secure 7,000 UK jobs – including 1,000 at Siemens Plessey Systems’ factory in Ilford, Essex – and that the Ministry of Defence had awarded it with a ?20m risk reduction contract. The contract appoints Archer as prime contractor of Bowman, and is designed to ensure a “low risk path” to the in-service date of March 2002. Future work open to competitive tender include the supply of VHF/HF batteries, personal radios, headset and antenna ancillaries, the Bowman logistics information system, installation services, design and certification services, and platform conversion services. The three closed competitions include that for the local area system – being competed for between CDC, Hunting Engineering and Thomson CSF, the HF radio competition – which Harris and Racal are fighting for, and the High Capacity Data Radio competition – being run between Hazeltine, Hughes and ITT Defence. The competitive tenders are being held at the behest of the MoD which wants to ensure that the UK armed forces get the best possible system. “Competition is at the heart of Archer,” said John Craen, managing director of Archer Communications Systems. “It’s not something that’s been thrown away.” There will also be export opportunities for Bowman, according to Craen, who estimated that another ?2bn could be generated from overseas sales. Bowman at a glance
Archer is a consortium of three companies – Racal Electronics, Siemens Plessey Systems and US-owned ITT Defence. It will act as primary contractor to the MoD for the duration of the project. Bowman is a tactical battlefield communications system designed for use by all three branches of the armed forces when taking part in land operations. Equipment will include handsets for use by infantry soldiers, radios for tanks, helicopters and other military vehicles to ensure an integrated communications system for battlefield participants from brigade level downwards. The system will rely on software to make it “field upgradeable”.


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