Does Bowman Work?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Skynet, Jul 26, 2006.

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  1. This is what the MOD say about it but soldiers with operational experience on this site say otherwise. Is it just teething problems or does it work does it work?
    NEWS
    Previous Page

    MOD Welcomes National Audit Office Report Into Battlefield Communications


    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    Source: MoD



    The MOD's £2.4 billion transformation of military communications through the introduction of Bowman digital radios has been assessed in a report by The National Audit Office (NAO).

    The Bowman digital radios have replaced analogue Clansman radios, used since the 1970's. The new technology should transform military communications and enable the Armed Forces to operate more effectively and at a higher tempo.

    Initial versions of Bowman have already been introduced on operations, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the NAO says that it is starting to deliver benefits. For the first time commanders at all levels have secure voice and data communications as well as an integrated Global Positioning System.

    The NAO have spoken to a large range of participants in the Bowman programme and the report says that:

    "Those using it find the secure communications and situational awareness capabilities are having a direct and positive effect. Acknowledged to be considerably quicker and more secure than the outdated Clansman radios, the Bowman programme indicates progress, through delivery of enhanced technical solutions, towards the originally envisaged improvements in operational tempo and effectiveness."

    Brigadier Andrew Gregory, Assistant Chief of Staff, Capability Development, HQ LAND, who recently returned from Iraq, said:

    "Bowman is giving us a real edge on operations. The situational awareness Bowman delivers means that decisions are better informed; that we are more agile and more effective; and that soldiers are better able to do their job in often difficult circumstances. Bowman is proving its worth on operations."

    The NAO report also comments on the challenges the MOD has faced in managing the programme, and the resulting revision of timescales for full implementation. It examines lessons learned and contains recommendations and support to the MOD in its continued delivery of such complex military capabilities.

    Sir John Bourn, head of the NAO, said:

    "The introduction of Bowman provides the first increment of a world class military communication, command and control system, which is delivering considerable benefits to the UK armed forces. The timescales set for the original programme were overly ambitious given the technical challenges that emerged and the sheer scale of the conversion. To ensure delivery of the recast programme by 2007 the MOD and its contractor General Dynamics UK should continue to respond flexibly to inevitable change and to the remaining technical challenges."

    Lord Drayson, Minister for Defence Procurement, said

    "Bowman provides our armed forces with a world class communications system. The secure voice and data network, and the situational awareness capabilities it provides, takes operational communications to a new level. We are receiving very positive feedback from troops in Iraq and Afghanistan who are using Bowman.

    The programme has presented us with a range of challenges, which we have addressed. In particular we have tackled how to phase in the new capabilities over the life of the project. We are pleased by the NAO's positive response to this recast programme."

    A revised programme and a further £121 million of funding have been approved to deliver the capabilities that the Armed Forces require by 2007. Bowman was declared in service in April 2004 but with some shortfalls in capability. Under Bowman some 48,000 radios and 28,000 computer terminals are to be installed in up to 15,700 vehicles, as well as ships, boats and helicopters. An estimated 75,000 users are to be trained on the system.
     
  2. as a communications system or as a way of making money?
     
  3. If it didn't work a number of other countries wouldn't be looking at buying it. They're just waiting for us to clear all the bugs out the system, which is the same for any new software based sytem civilian or military
     
  4. Ooh! Does that mean other countries are buying JPA too?
     
  5. I can tell you Bowman doesn't work in Afghanistan. Not once have i (or my signaller) had over 10k's with it and usually lose comms after around 6k's. It may well be a good piece of kit in moderate climates but not in arid regions. PRC320 and Tac Sat work better.
     
  6. only in the day time. then when it becomes night it doesnt work.
    something to do with the airwaves or something like that.
     
  7. But the helicopters do the opposite!!! Cant call helis while they can fly, cant fly helis when they can be called....
     
  8. Is there anyone else out there who can throw light on this system? Does it work?
     
  9. As Fallschrimjager says, it seems to work OK under ideal conditions, the fly in the ointment seems to be how it is used in operational conditions. Methinks we need to drastically alter procurment systems so trials of kit take place in all possible climatic condidtion, arctic, Mountain, desert, jungle, high altitude etc.. It is ludicrous that kit can be forced into service before it is ready. It shouldn't be up to soldiers (Sometimes in the middle of a firefight) to discover the flaws and limitations of the system and send them up the chain, problems should be ironed out before roll out.

    Another flaw with Bowman is lack of commonality between the Harris and General Dynamics Radio. Harris already have a very good HF/VHF single radio which would have solved the problem of learning two menu structures, solved the lack of battery compatability issues (Including easing the extra weight and space issues)

    I try to keep myself open minded on kit, but the more I hear from the guys using it on the ground, the less optimistic I become regarding the system. Potential is all very well, but potential isn't going to save your life if you lose comms.
     
  10. Does anyone have any comments on the following?

    Lord Drayson, Minister for Defence Procurement, said, "Bowman provides our armed forces with a world class communications system. The secure voice and data network, and the situational awareness capabilities it provides, takes operational communications to a new level. We are receiving very positive feedback from troops in Iraq and Afghanistan who are using Bowman. The programme has presented us with a range of challenges, which we have addressed. In particular we have tackled how to phase in the new capabilities over the life of the project. We are pleased by the NAO's positive response to this recast programme. Troops returning from Iraq have welcomed the new capabilities Bowman offers.

    Brigadier Andrew Gregory, Assistant Chief of Staff, Capability Development, LAND, said "Bowman is giving us a real edge on operations. The situational awareness Bowman delivers means that decisions are better informed; that we are more agile and more effective; and that soldiers are better able to their job in often difficult circumstances. Bowman is proving its worth on operations."
     
  11. Yes its a complete load of spun b*****ks, check BedIns experience on the other bowman thread on the Infantry forum http://www.arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/t=40347.html. Its been very quite since he challenged the Bowman apologists to answer his charges. Prehaps you can.

    As to this I could write a similar upbeat press release on anything you care to mention - reintroduction of brown bess, fighting in line and square, etc - and I could find a senior rank to endorse it, no problem at all.
     
  12. Well from what I can read on all the threads from the very important infantry point of view it does not work? Do we have any more infantiers out there with practical operational experience who are of the same view?
    It seems to me that Lord Drayson must be confronted with the reality whatever that is.
     
  13. you are using a counterpoise freq plan adjusted for time of day
    I know you are going to say yes.
     
  14. Drayson has never been confronted with reality. He lives, like so many of them, on a different astral plane.