Edinburgh: Bomb disposal unit respond to incident
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Leonardo UK has been awarded a £41M contract to equip army personnel with digital protection against remotely triggered bombs. British Army specialists called on by UK police forces to dispose of suspected bombs are getting latest-generation electronic shields.
The hi-tech gear works by scanning the airwaves for remote control signals which are attempting to detonate an explosive device, and jamming these transmissions using advanced new digital techniques.
Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin, said: “Our personnel work in hostile environments on dangerous tasks to keep our nation and its people safe.
“This multi-million-pound contract with Team Endure not only delivers crucial innovative protection for our Armed Forces but is in large part being delivered by UK SMEs.”
Major General Robin Anderton-Brown, UKStratCom Director Capability, said: “This capability shows the MOD exploiting the best available technology from our innovative SMEs here in the UK. In a system designed for the information age, the procurement approach and open architecture will allow us to upgrade, at pace, to respond to new threats and technology.
“This cutting edge, modular capability will ensure our personnel are best able to deal with the threats they face, now and into the future.”
First deliveries of the new equipment, including vehicle-mounted and portable modules, will take place from Autumn 2024.
The contract was placed by the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation on behalf of the Army.
Team Endure, which Leonardo is spearheading, includes innovative UK SMEs CommsAudit, Elma Electronic, Kirintec and Waymont Consulting, as well as defence experts Marshall Land Systems and training specialist EWS.
Roughly 50 percent of the value of the contract will be delivered by onshore SME businesses and Leonardo has already identified potential export opportunities for the new technology.
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Leonardo is acting as the systems integrator for the new equipment, a majority of which is produced by technical SMEs around Britain.
The project is the first application of the MOD’s Land Cyber and ElectroMagnetic Architecture (CEMA), specifically developed to meet the requirements for Electronic Counter Measure (ECM) applications.
A Leonardo UK spokesman said: “This is the underpinning element for future ECM programmes and aligns with defence policy on designing systems with open architectures, to enable flexible deployment, upgrade and ‘evergreening’ of both hardware and software capabilities over the life of the system.
“Under the contract, Leonardo will also provide in-service support services to the Ministry of Defence.
“This support is initially contracted for two years, after which there are contract options to extend.”
The spokesman added: “To ensure the new capability stays relevant and to ensure long-term value for money, the hardware is future-proofed with potential for upgrade.
“Leonardo expects future capability to be introduced digitally via software upgrade.
“Although the open architecture standards model does make any necessary hardware upgrades/obsolescence management simple.”
Leonardo has 45 years of experience in the counter-explosives domain, previously provided the Guardian jamming system to the UK’s Armed Forces, which protected vehicle crews and dismounted patrols from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The spokesman explained: “This new contract also draws on the company’s work in partnership with the Ministry of Defence to develop open standards such as the Land CEMA (cyber-electromagnetic activities) Architecture and OpenCPI (Open Component Portability Infrastructure) amongst others.
“In addition to its heritage in the domain, Leonardo has a number of former counter-terror bomb disposal experts working on the programme.”
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