in Defence / Security

Team Endure to digitally protect bomb disposal troops

Posted 26 July 2022

A Leonardo led team of small and medium-sized businesses from across the UK - Team Endure - has been awarded a contract worth over £40 million to equip British Army personnel with advanced digital protection against remotely-triggered bombs.



Image courtesy DE&S

The technology will be deployed when British Army specialists respond to civil emergencies around the UK in support of the police and other civil authorities.

The contract was placed by the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation on behalf of the British Army. Leonardo’s team includes innovative UK SMEs CommsAudit, Elma Electronic, Kirintec and Waymont Consulting, as well as defence experts Marshall Land Systems and training specialist EWS. Around 50% of the value of the contract will be delivered by onshore SME businesses and Leonardo has already identified potential export opportunities for the new technology.

The life-saving technology interrogates the airwaves for remote control signals that may be attempting to detonate an explosive device, allowing skilled Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) personnel to block them using using advanced digital techniques.

A £41 million contract placed with Team Endure under Leonardo has created 10 jobs with 100 roles supported around the country including 35 at Leonardo in Basildon and Southampton. Around 50% of the contract value will be delivered by SMEs.

The contract was placed by DE&S’ Force Protection Electronic Countermeasures delivery team.

Steve Westwood, FPEC delivery team leader at DE&S, said: "There is great deal of pride within the team that they have secured the procurement of critical technology that will help keep members of the Armed Forces and public safer."

DE&S CEO Sir Simon Bollom said: "This British Army regiment carries out high risk duties often in direct protection of the public and it is essential that we provide them with the tools needed to carry out their job safely and effectively. Crucially the system is open architecture so it can be updated across its lifetime to ensure advancements is hostile technology can be countered."

First deliveries of the new equipment, which includes vehicle-mounted and portable modules, will take place from Autumn 2024. It will be deployed in 2025 by the British Army’s 11 EOD & Search Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps, the specialist unit responsible for explosive device and munitions disposal.

Major General Robin Anderton-Brown, UKStratCom Director Capability, said: “This capability shows the MoD exploiting the best available technology from our innovative SMEs here in the UK. In a system designed for the information age, the procurement approach and open architecture will allow us to upgrade, at pace, to respond to new threats and technology. This cutting edge, modular capability will ensure our personnel are best able to deal with the threats they face, now and into the future.”

First deliveries of the new equipment are due to take place from Autumn 2024, with a view to deploying the technology across the whole of Defence’s specialist units responsible for explosive device and munitions disposal in 2025.

Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin, said: “Our personnel work in hostile environments on dangerous tasks to keep our nation and its people safe. This multimillion pound contract with Team Endure not only delivers crucial innovative protection for our Armed Forces but is in large part being delivered by UK SMEs.”

Leonardo is acting as the systems integrator for the new equipment, a majority of which is produced by technical SME’s around the UK. This is the first application of the MoD’s Land Cyber and ElectroMagnetic Architecture (CEMA), which has been developed to specifically meet the requirements for Electronic Counter Measure (ECM) applications. This is the underpinning element for future ECM programmes and aligns with defence policy on designing systems with open architectures, to enable flexible deployment, upgrade and ‘evergreening’ of both  hardware and software capabilities over the life of the system.

Under the contract, Leonardo will also provide in-service support services to the Ministry of Defence, This support is initially contracted for two years, after which there are contract options to extend.

To ensure the new capability stays relevant and to ensure long-term value for money, the hardware is future-proofed with potential for upgrade. Leonardo expects future capability to be introduced digitally via software upgrade, although the open architecture standards model does make any necessary hardware upgrades/obsolescence management simple.

Leonardo has 45 years of experience in the counter-explosives domain and has previously provided the ‘Guardian’ jamming system to the UK’s Armed Forces, protecting vehicle crews and dismounted patrols from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This new contract also draws on the company’s work in partnership with the MoD to develop open standards such as the Land CEMA (cyber-electromagnetic activities) Architecture and OpenCPI (Open Component Portability Infrastructure) amongst others. In addition to its heritage in the domain, Leonardo has a number of former counter-terror bomb disposal experts working on the programme.

 

 

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