Production, Enhancements Continue for Bowman Radio Program

by Andrew Dardine, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Production of communications systems to fulfill the Bowman tactical radio requirement for the United Kingdom should continue over the next several years, led primarily by the need for software upgrades and enhancements. Production will also continue for exports sales, especially to Middle Eastern countries.

Bowman is expected to remain in U.K. service until 2025, but plans for the future are already underway. In June 2015, the U.K. Ministry of Defense announced it was moving forward on a project to develop an eventual replacement for Bowman.

Meanwhile, the work on keeping Bowman up to date goes on. In March 2016, the MoD awarded General Dynamics UK Limited a $174.5 million contract to provide upgraded Bowman systems to the British armed forces.

Over 20,000 British military vehicles, 160 vessels, and a large number of aircraft are believed to have been equipped with the radios since the start of the program.  In terms of actual systems in service, the numbers are ultimately expected to be as follows: approximately 30,000 VHF radios, 11,000 HF radios, 26,000 computer terminals, and more than 10,000 local area systems.

Radios acquired under the purchasing umbrella of Bowman include a variety of systems that have been specially adapted to Bowman specifications.  Harris is providing Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) Advanced System Improvement Package (ASIP) radios to fill Bowman’s VHF requirement, and Harris is producing Falcon II radios for the HF requirement.

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