MoD seeks new bidders for Bowman

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The Independent Online

The Government yesterday announced it was removing the Archer Communications consortium as its chosen supplier of a new battlefield communications system and was launching a new round of bidding.

The Government yesterday announced it was removing the Archer Communications consortium as its chosen supplier of a new battlefield communications system and was launching a new round of bidding.

BAe Systems, Racal Electronics, which is being acquired by the French group Thomson-CSF, and US-based ITT Industries make up the consortium for the Bowman system.

"After very careful consideration, we are not convinced that they can deliver a communications system that meets our requirement in the time required, or that it represents value for money," Baroness Symons, Minister for Defence Procurement, said."Achieving an early in-service date has been the key to this decision. We are confident that a new competition now offers the best prospect for delivering the best value for money and lowest risk solution to the Bowman requirement." The system was originally expected to be in use from 1995. Two weeks ago, the consortium said it expected to make it available by the end of 2002.

Bowman was due to replace the Clansman combat radio system at a cost of about £1.7bn.

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