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Falcon to fly for the Army

£200m communications upgrade

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The Army is to get a new digital battlefield communications network.

Named Falcon, it will be provided under a contract worth over £200m between the Defence Procurement Agency (DPA) and BAE Systems Integrated System Technologies (Insyte).

Lord Drayson, the minister for defence procurement, announced the deal, saying Falcon will equip senior commanders with one of the world's most advanced and powerful digital communications networks for controlling combat operations at corps, divisional and brigade level.

It will have up to 50 times the data throughput capacity of the systems it replaces. This will massively improve the Army's communications network and reduce the number of Royal Signals vehicles and personnel needed to support a major headquarters.

It is due to enter service in 2010.

Lord Drayson said: "Falcon will be a vital part of the network enabled operations that will help our front line commanders cut through the fog of war and ensure they have the ability to communicate quickly and effectively across the battlefield.

"Studies have shown that better and faster use of combat information gives our armed forces a major advantage over any likely opponents and Falcon, integrated with the Bowman tactical communications system and the Cormorant command system, will give them that crucial advantage. It fully supports our future procurement policy as laid out in the Defence Industrial Strategy."

The Bowman tactical system will feed information into Falcon, which will be able to link back to UK headquarters using the Skynet 5 satellite communications system. It will replace in-service systems such as Ptarmigan, Euromux, and the RAF Transportable Telecommunications System (RTTS).

The Falcon project is managed by the Theatre and Formation Communication Systems project team, based at the DPA in Bristol.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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