MOD looks to SMEs and academics to shape future of military communications

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is developing a new approach to land and littoral communications that will support military operations in future decades.

The current Bowman communications system is nearing its out-of-service date. Technology, and the nature of military operations, has changed dramatically, so the MoD is looking at new approaches to reflect these changes and meet the requirements of the British Army, Royal Marines and RAF Regiment.

Project MORPHEUS, launched by the MOD, will develop and consider options for what will replace the current Bowman system. It is seeking anyone involved in areas such as telecommunications, wireless, IT, networks and security – as well as trainers in these areas - to feed expertise and ideas on new technological approaches into the project whether working in the defence or commercial world.

It aims to establish options that make best use of current and emerging technology, resulting in a system that can be evolved and managed in a cost-effective way.

MORPHEUS provides a way for academics and businesses, especially SMEs, to inform the future of communications, as well as presenting significant long-term business opportunities for innovators in this area. The MORPHEUS Systems House is tasked with drawing together different ideas into potential options, so those with partial solutions and research are strongly encouraged to submit them.

Options will be addressed by the MORPHEUS Systems House – led by PA Consulting with QinetiQ, Roke Manor Research and CGI.

The range of options, outlining which technologies and software are needed to get information from point A to B securely, will be addressed, with the most appropriate long-term business models (acquisition and operating). The selection process will take into account security, speed of communication, range, ease of use and cost – both of deployment and manpower required for operation.

These options also need to plan for the pace of change of operational demands and technical development. They must reflect a capability to securely integrate new technologies as they come onto the market, including commercial technologies. The selected option(s) will form the basis for MOD competition for design of the new system.

Rick Mather, project lead for MORPEHEUS at QinetiQ, says: “The key here is to examine all the potential options out there to identify the most operationally effective and cost effective solutions.”

“We know there are lots of really exciting technology and security SMEs, as well as academics, doing exactly the kind of research and innovation this project needs. We also know a lot of them think that these kinds of contracts always go to the same old defence companies. That’s not the case here, we’re really open to innovative, and even unusual solutions to ensure that the final options are the best possible”.

Companies involved in the MORPHEUS Systems House Industry Engagement process will also be exposed to new ideas, concepts, people, and information from a variety of different sectors through workshops, events and online collaboration. They will help shape the future market – both military and the industries it influences – by feeding in ideas that will mean increments of the MORPHEUS project are more likely to be designed with the capability of their future products in mind.

Beyond the design phase, MORPHEUS will be the main vehicle for the procurement of the UK Armed Forces' tactical communications capability for the next 30 years.

Companies wishing to register an interest can do so via the MORPHEUS website. Interested parties can also stay up-to-date through the MORPHEUS Twitter and MORPHEUS LinkedIn group

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