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BAE SYSTEMS Falcon Team Submits Future Proof, Value For Money Proposal

05 Apr 2004

The BAE SYSTEMS FALCON team has submitted its bid for Increment A of the UK Ministry of Defences FALCON Information Infrastructure requirement, a key further stage in creating Network Enabled Capability (NEC) for the British Armed Forces.

BAE Systems and many of its team members have been involved in the FALCON programme since the Pre-Feasibility Study in 1997 and, subsequently, in both the Concept and Assessment phases. This heritage has provided a unique source of experience, skills and insight from which the BAE Systems FALCON solution has been developed.

The team proposes to realise the theatre communications capability requirement by the provision of FALCON installations mounted on Supacat vehicles equipped with a best-of-breed mix of radios, routers, switches, cryptos, masts, antennas and generators. Most of our solution features commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment enhanced to provide essential military features, such as ruggedisation to meet the harsh military environment.

Mike Turner, Chief Executive Officer, said, FALCON is really important to BAE Systems. Firstly, as a new generation Information System programme in the world of Network Enabled Capability (NEC), we believe that our alliance will deliver the best of breed solution to the FALCON requirement to our customer. Secondly, NEC is the future for our Armed Forces. Were determined to support them, delivering value for money, whilst making sure that the solution is future-proof.

The BAE Systems FALCON solution features BAE Systems C4ISR, Thales Defence UK, Thales e-Security, Cisco, General Dynamics-UK, Flagship Training and Dytecna.

The solution makes extensive use of commercial technology to reduce costs - and more importantly - risk, taking advantage of the huge investment in civil communications to give not only outstanding value for money but also the best through-life costs.

IP is the future direction of the commercial world and the majority of new military networks. It is inherently resilient and supports a data centric network. IP is an open standard - it is regarded as the world's medium of information exchange, with built-in evolution. The UK BOWMAN uses IP and IP has been mandated for the US WIN-T programme. The use of IP for FALCON mitigates the risk of operating with these two key systems.

The FALCON Management System (FMS), which is key in providing manpower efficiencies and a highly resilient and manoeuvrable system, has utilised BAE Systems experience and skills gained on the BOWMAN Communications Management System.

Paul Laity, Managing Director of the BAE Systems Communications & Defence Infrastructure business said, As the Ptarmigan incumbent, BAE Systems understands the needs of the user, and will take that experience into the transition into FALCON. Our proposal is underpinned by robust project management processes and by BAE Systems Life Cycle Management processes. These have recently been audited on behalf of MoD by Detica, which benchmarked them as best practice. Our programme relies on the use of off-the-shelf equipment and mature technology. This reduces the amount of development needed to a minimum and meets - or exceeds - the required Technology Readiness Levels.

Much attention has been paid to both understanding and managing the risks associated with delivering the programme. We will maintain a core team of forty people to ensure that we can work through development and the planning to ensure that we de-risk the programme during the period from April to the end of the year. Our FALCON proposal will support well over 400 jobs in the UK. We will also be taking the technology to our overseas markets using the Defence Export Services Organisation.

Background Note:

The BAE Systems FALCON solution includes:

* BAE Systems C4ISR as the Prime Systems Integrator and supplier of the main bespoke elements, the management system and security architecture
* Thales Defence UK is to supply the proposed transmission sub-system based on the Thales TRC 4000 family of line-of-sight radios. Selected by both the French and Swiss Armed Forces, the TRC 4000 offers an excellent combination of range, bandwidth and functionality, together with impressive physical and electronic resilience
* Thales e-Security of Aylesbury is to deliver an innovative, efficient and cost-effective security subsystem based on COTS products. This will ensure commonality of components across the system to reduce overall costs, bring FALCON into service quickly. It will also future-proof the solution by ensuring that technological advancements made within the commercial security sector can be readily inserted into FALCON at any future stage
* Cisco, the world leaders in civil communications, is contributing its knowledge of Internet Protocol (IP) technology
* General Dynamics-UK, as the BOWMAN prime contractor, is working with the team to develop the synergies between both systems in-service support solutions
* Flagship Training, providing the training, has undertaken a Training Needs Analysis, which has involved many end-users. The innovative training solution uses a combination of Computer Assisted Instruction and Computer Based Training, to complement the use of fielded equipment
* Dytecna is to be responsible for the design and manufacture of the communication shelters hosted on Supacat vehicles


FALCON will provide the UK Armed Forces with a high capacity, multi-channel, secure communications capability at the operational and tactical levels of command that can be deployed rapidly by air into any theatre of operations. It will complement Skynet strategic satellite communications and BOWMAN secure, single channel radio networks operating primarily at Battlegroup level and below. FALCON, a tri-service project, will replace Ptarmigan and some elements of the deployable communication infrastructures currently in use by the RN and RAF.

FALCON is to be procured in four increments. The first increment, ISD A, has an initial in-service date of 2006 and is required to equip the main headquarters and supporting elements of the ACE (Allied Command Europe) Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC). The Demonstration & Manufacture Phase contract is valued at some 160 million. The preferred contractor selection announcement for ISD A is planned for late 2004.


BAE SYSTEMS is an international company engaged in the development, delivery and support of advanced defence and aerospace systems in the air, on land, at sea and in space. The company designs, manufactures and supports military aircraft, surface ships, submarines, radar, avionics, communications, electronics and guided weapon systems. It is a pioneer in technology with a heritage stretching back hundreds of years. It is at the forefront of innovation, working to develop the next generation of intelligent defence systems.

BAE SYSTEMS has major operations across five continents and customers in some 130 countries. The company has more than 90,000 people and generates annual sales of approximately 12 billion through its wholly-owned and joint venture operations. BAE SYSTEMS, innovating for a safer world.

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