Battlefield network to give troops high-tech edge

MoD's preferred bidder revealed...

MoD's preferred bidder revealed...

A new £180m battlefield communications network will "help clear the fog of war" and give British armed forces a major advantage over its opponents, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

BAE Systems' Insyte division has been named as preferred bidder by the MoD for Project Falcon, designed to equip senior commanders with a new network for controlling combat operations.

Defence procurement minister Lord Drayson said detailed negotiations will now take place with BAE Systems Insyte before any decision is taken on awarding a contract.

Subject to successful contract negotiations, the deal would create or sustain hundreds of jobs across the UK, the MoD said.

"We envisage Falcon as a key part of the network-enabled operations that will help clear the fog of war and ensure the British Army dominates the battlefields of the future. Our studies have shown that better and faster use of combat information will give our forces a major advantage over any likely opponents," Drayson said in a statement.

Falcon will provide the battlefield communications infrastructure to support the Army's command systems. The Bowman tactical system will feed information into Falcon, which will link back to UK headquarters in real time using the Skynet 5 satellite communications system.

The project will have more than 50 times the data throughput capacity of the systems it replaces, and will allow commanders to send large amounts of data, including real time video. It will also reduce the number of Royal Signals vehicles and personnel needed to support a major headquarters.

Drayson said, along with the Bowman and the Cormorant command system, Falcon will give British forces "that crucial advantage".