Military getting a communications tech upgrade

Military communication technology is about to get a £175 million upgrade, V3 has reported on Friday.

The Army, the Royal Navy and the RAF will be getting new communications hardware from 2018, provided by UK's primary military contractor, General Dynamics UK.

The biggest amount, £75 million, will be invested in some 12,000 data terminals, which will be placed in various headquarters, aircraft carriers and other vehicles.

Another £23 million will be given to upgrade the Bowman tactical communications equipment, usually used when carrying out operations. This new equipment is planned to last for at least another 10 years.

“This contract will replace the data terminals and update software across the Bowman system to ensure ease of use, more rapid and robust data services and improved interoperability,” said Brigadier Richard Spencer.

V3 also says that the government is actually looking to move away from getting all of its equipment from a single supplier. The agreement with General Dynamics UK says that exceptions can be made, especially if it's about specialised equipment.

It gave an example of the Ministry of Defence bypassing the government's IT spending limit when signing a deal with the Atlas consortium. The spending limit was at £1.5 billion.

"It could be argued that the MoD is not part of the public sector, where technology innovation is rife, given the secrecy and rigorous requirements of the military when it comes to technology,” it says.