General Dynamics gets $450 million U.K. defense digitization program

General Dynamics United Kingdom Ltd., a unit of General Dynamics Corp., won a contract as the preferred supplier to support a digital battle management system for the U.K. Ministry of Defence, the company announced Nov. 7. The system, which could cost $450 million, will be used by British ground forces.

Through this program, called the Digitization Battlespace Land-Combat, Infrastructure and Platform Battlefield Information Systems application, General Dynamics will integrate hardware and software into a common digital communications and situational-awareness system.

The system will give fighting forces constant access to command and control information, even while on the move. The first fighting unit will be converted to the new system by mid-2003.

"We are pleased that the U.K. Ministry of Defense has once again selected General Dynamics as a key partner in its efforts to capture the advantages of network-enabled capabilities for the U.K.'s defense forces," said Nicholas Chabraja, chairman and CEO.

General Dynamics U.K. won a $2.4 billion contract for the Bowman secure, digital voice and data communications system in September 2001. Bowman will include a situational awareness system, and will provide the infrastructure to support a range of digitization applications, such as the digital battlespace, over the next 30 years.

Approximately 20,000 U.K. army vehicles will be equipped and 70,000 service personnel trained on Bowman by October 2007. Bowman replaces a system that is more than 25 years old and will be the largest defense communications program in the United Kingdom in more than 50 years.

"Bowman is the radio infrastructure" for U.K. army forces, said General Dynamics spokesman Rob Doolittle. "This is the first application that's going to ride on that infrastructure." Initial fielding of the Bowman-CIP integrated ground communications and information infrastructure to a full brigade will be in 2005, and full operational capability will be reached in 2007.

General Dynamics, Falls Church, Va., employs approximately 54,000 people worldwide and anticipates 2002 revenue of $14 billion. The company provides mission-critical information systems and technologies, land and amphibious combat systems, shipbuilding and marine systems, and business aviation.

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