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BAE SYSTEMS to support air-portable ptarmigan area communication system

30 Jan 2002

BAE Systems has been tasked by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence to develop and install improved generators and air-conditioning units for the Ptarmigan Secondary Access Node-Air Portable system, SAN(AP), to enhance power and climatic control performance following in-service experience with the deployed system.

Design, manufacture and embodiment are to be completed by the Christchurch-based Communications & Defence Infrastructure team by the end of March 2002. The process will be supported by BAE Systems partners in this programme - Dytecna, Fischer Panda and Cool Tec.

SAN(AP) was originally designed and delivered to the Ministry of Defence in 1998 under an Urgent Operational Requirement to provide rapidly deployed forces with access to area and satellite communications. The programme repackaged the conventional Ptarmigan Secondary Access Switch and Radio Relay sub-systems into separate air-portable variants, each mounted on Pinzgauer 6x6 wheeled vehicles which are deployed in pairs as the SAN(AP).

The system has seen operational service with the British Army in a number of overseas theatres and with the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps.

Background note:

Ptarmigan was the world's first deployed military digital area communications system. It incorporated many of the advanced data packaging and switching technologies now mirrored in the world of civil telecommunications. The system has supported British forces in many major campaigns and has been updated to reflect changing military requirements, in particular those of expeditionary warfare, peacekeeping roles and the emerging digitised battlespace.

The Communications & Defence Infrastructure (CDI) division supplies tactical and strategic communications systems for all three domains, together with innovative information infrastructure and IFF systems, to support battlespace digitisation. The division develops defence applications based on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) sub-systems and accepts development risk from customer organisations. CDI's approach features the creation of Integrated Project Teams (IPTs) with procurement specialists and user representatives, and the development of industrial alliances with other major industry centres of specialist expertise in associated fields.

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