Racal Electronics Group is leading a transatlantic partnership, Archer Communications Systems, to develop the long delayed Bowman tactical communications system for the Ministry of Defence, worth a potential #5 billion.
The equal partners, Racal, ITT Defence and Siemens Plessey, believe that the communications systems will generate #3 billion over the 25-year contract with the UK armed forces, and an additional #2 billion in exports.
Racal?s particular contribution is the VHF portable transceiver radio. It is compatible with a similar system developed by ITT which is used by US forces, and this compatibility was key both to the contract award and to potential export markets. David Elsbury, Racal?s CEO commented yesterday that the export alone should position Archer as a predominant player in the global tactical communications market. The 25-year lifetime support contract will be a major revenue earner for Archer Communications, probably worth about #500 million, and upgrades will contribute a further #1 billion.
Budget cuts and rapidly changing technologies delayed the contract award process, and the system could be a decade behind original scheduling by the time it goes into service.
Siemens put Siemens Plessey up for auction earlier this year, and both ITT and Racal have the option to buy Siemens Plessey?s share in Archer Communications if they object to the eventual purchaser of Siemens? defence arm.
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