The Bowman project will provide the Armed Forces with a modern, highly capable tactical combat radio communications system to replace Clansman, which has been in service since the mid-1970s. It will provide secure, reliable communications to our land forces and selected elements of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. The system will also implement a tactical internet and provide automatic position location, navigation and reporting.
Last summer, in the light of major problems with the programme, the competition for the Bowman combat radio was re-launched. Following careful analysis of the bids submitted by Thales, TRW and CDC, I have decided that CDC, a subsidiary of General Dynamics already operating in the UK, should be selected as the preferred supplier of this system.
Our priority has been to deliver a successful solution that fills the capability gap at the earliest opportunity. CDC has offered a solution that fully meets the military requirement and represents the best value for money. I am confident that it will meet our demanding timetable for getting this vital equipment into service with the Armed Forces. It is based on the development of a proven system, and includes best of class radios and a very efficient approach to fielding and support. Its bid is the clear winner of the competition.
The Ministry of Defence and CDC will now work together on the programme to bring Bowman into service. We aim to be in a position to let the contract in late summer this year, in support of an In Service Date in early 2004. The contract is valued at around £1.8 billion. It will cover both the supply of the Bowman system and the first five years of support up to the year 2009.
CDC's solution will provide employment opportunities in the UK in a broad range of system areas, including design, development, manufacture and project management. Ninety per cent of the work content of the CDC bid will be UK based--the highest proportion of any of the three bids. Around 1,600 jobs will be secured across the UK, including 400 new high technology and support posts at the company's headquarters, which CDC plan to establish in South Wales. The company has also earmarked South Wales for a new Army Communications Technology research and development centre, which will be staffed by around 65 leading scientists. Other regions will benefit too. We expect sub-contract work to secure over 100 jobs in Scotland, over 300 jobs in South West England, and around 75 jobs in the South East centred on Hastings. Major UK sub-contractors include Alvis and GKN-Westlands.
This month will also see the first deliveries, ahead of schedule, of the Personal Role Radios, a new capability which was separated from the main Bowman requirement in 1999 in order to ensure early delivery to the front line. These radios will provide short range communications for dismounted infantry, and will transform their operations.