Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) have awarded a £100 million contract to a Babcock-led partnership with Elbit Systems UK and QinetiQ, to deliver advanced electronic warfare (EW) systems to the Royal Navy.
The BEQ collaboration will operate as a single team to deliver an innovative world leading solution, based upon proven operational technology providing in-depth knowledge of the platforms and experience in delivering digital Electronic Support Measures on a global basis.
The EW technology will allow more simultaneous detection and identification of radio signals over a greater frequency range than current capabilities. This will aid faster operational decision-making, enhanced situational awareness and anti-ship missile defence capability.
Around 170 jobs are expected to be created and sustained across the UK by the 13-year contract, mainly in the South West of England, ranging from manufacturing to software development roles.
Defence Secretary of State Ben Wallace said:
“In a world of rapidly evolving threats, these enhancements will upgrade the Royal Navy with pioneering radar detection capabilities maintaining the UK’s operational advantage at sea.
“The £100-million investment with key industry partners will underpin vital defence outputs whilst supporting jobs and investment in the South-West of England.”
This is the first phase of a £500-million Maritime Electronics Warfare Programme (MEWP) to deliver battle-winning operational advantage on Type 45, 26 and 31 frigates, as well as the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.
Senior Responsible Owner for the programme, Royal Navy Commodore Steve Prest, said: “The ability to understand and exploit the increasingly complex electro-magnetic environment is critical for the operational success of the Royal Navy.
“This technology will deliver a generational leap in our electronic warfare capabilities to ensure we maintain the operational advantage we need well into the 21st century.”
Rear Admiral Jim Higham, DE&S Director Ship Support, said: “I am delighted to have achieved this contract award and look forward to working with Babcock, Elbit and QinetiQ. Now the real work begins - delivering this crucial capability to the frontline to time and cost and supporting the men and women of the Royal Navy in what they deliver for our nation.”
Babcock, Elbit and QinetiQ will work as one team with DE&S, the Navy and Dstl (Defence Science and Technology Laboratories) to design, manufacture, deliver and integrate the capability before providing in-service support for the duration of the contract.
Strengthening maritime capabilities ensures the Royal Navy are spearheading innovation and are prepared for new and emerging threats. This ambition, outlined in the Defence Command Paper, is reinforced by the £24 billion increase in defence spending over the next four years.
Babcock is the prime contractor within the BEQ collaboration of Babcock, Elbit Systems UK (ESUK) and QinetiQ, who will all work together on the programme, providing the design, manufacture, delivery/commisioning and in-service support to the Maritime Electronic Warfare Systems Integrated Capability (MEWSIC) Increment 1.
Part of the Maritime Electronic Warfare Programme, MEWSIC Increment 1 covers the acquisition, integration and through-life support of a sensor suite and a command & control system and its associated systems for in-scope Royal Navy platforms. The solution includes provision of training solutions, technical test and integration facilities alongside the support services.
The programme will see upgrades to the Radar Electronic Support Measure and Electronic Warfare Command and Control capabilities for maritime platforms. This capability will support the execution of all military tasks that exploit electromagnetic energy to enable enhanced shared situational awareness, informed command support, effective decision support and force protection.
David Lockwood, Babcock CEO said: “Babcock is delighted to be supporting the Royal Navy on this programme. As technology advances, operational advantage through electronic warfare capabilities is more important than ever to our armed forces, and this programme will play a key part in its delivery at sea. We will work closely with our collaboration partners and DE&S customer to enhance information dominance for the Royal Navy and its wider allies.”
Sovereignty and Freedom of Action will be assured by the BEQ collaboration through their ongoing significant investment in technology and infrastructure in the UK and throughout the life of the contract, creating new skilled jobs in manufacturing and software development. Furthermore all ship fits will be undertaken in the UK as will all new development activity.