General Dynamics UK strengthens Bowman to boost counter-IED capability

General Dynamics UK has signed three contracts with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) that will help Bowman users operating in Afghanistan increase their ability to counter the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) through better information sharing. With a total value of £33 million, the three contracts will provide:
  • Improved connectivity between Forward Operating Bases (FOB) and Patrol Bases (PB)
  • Improved Tactical Situational Awareness (Tac SA)
  • Improved Shared Situational Awareness (SSA)
  • Improved connectivity between Forward Operating Bases (FOB) and Patrol Bases (PB)
One key challenge that commanders in Afghanistan face is how to provide similar levels of communications capability available in FOBs to troops operating in locations where it is inappropriate to use either Command Vehicles or larger fixed installations. Responding to calls from end-users the proposed system is called M-DOR – a Modular Dismounted Operations Room C4I capability. This system will, for the first time, enable British personnel on the ground to establish a PB with similar levels of VHF, HF and High Capacity Data Radios (HCDR) to a FOB.
M-DOR provides a deployable and flexible C4I capability in support of deployed, fixed bases. It will provide a lightweight, transportable, modular system that allows rapid and simple deployment of a range of C4I capabilities, including the ability to communicate the location of IEDs using secure data. Benefits of M-DOR will include reduced user workload and easing of rapid deployment and establishment of "greenfield" FOB/PB by trained Bowman personnel.

The inclusion of an enhanced HCDR radio in the contract will result in the ability to greatly increase levels of user data throughput such as Bowman data, ISTAR and C-IED information.
Improved Tactical Situational Awareness (Tac SA)
Commanders at the tactical level will benefit from a second contract that will deliver a Tac SA solution. This will allow commanders to plan and conduct their patrols more effectively and safely, as well as collect and report on patrol activity so that the information gathered, such as locations of IEDs, can be shared and exploited across the operational environment. Using the M-DOR platform, which will now be present in Patrol Bases, the Tac SA solution will access the Bowman BCIP 5.4 HCDR network and share Tactical Ground Reporting information.

The Tac SA solution will comprise new, high performance, semi-ruggedised laptops and associated servers plus an accreditable physical and electrical connection between Bowman (BCIP) and the Tactical Ground Reporting Infrastructure (TiGR). Each interface will provide both physical and electrical security as well as data resilience.
Improved Shared Situational Awareness (SSA)
The third capability to be delivered by General Dynamics UK will provide SSA by providing interoperability between Bowman and other less tactical, in-theatre Communications and Information Systems (CIS) such as Overtask. This solution will allow SSA to move between Bowman and CIS enabling tactical commanders to see the Common Operational Picture (COP) on a single terminal, giving them access to all appropriate information at once.
Authorised users will be able to automatically transfer Situational Awareness information between systems including tactical graphics and Operational Staff Work information, and allow direct interaction between systems operators via their respective chat services.
"These latest contracts, let to us by the MOD, demonstrate that our customer has every confidence that Bowman is not only doing the job we promised it would, but it is the platform from which many other operational advantages can and are springing", said Andrew Browne, vice president of C4I at General Dynamics UK "The fact that we can now deliver a modular deployed operations room to a patrol base that not only delivers FOB communications levels to front-line troops but also facilitates improved tactical and shared situational awareness to commanders clearly shows that General Dynamics UK is the best organisation to exploit Bowman in the interests of our men and women in Afghanistan."