US Department of Defence signed a contract, covering the prospective procurement of the elements of the Battlefield Management System, which are going to be utilized by the Forward/Tactical Air Controllers. The agreement is going to include acquisition of the Fonet internal communications system technology developed by the Polish WB Electronics company, and license manufactured by the US-based Harris company.
The concluded contract, with its value defined as USD 52.5 million, refers to modification of the HMMWV M1145 platform. The said vehicles are going to be fitted with elements of the battlefield management system, the package of which is to be used by the CAS forward air controllers. The respective agreement has been concluded between the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center and the iGOV company. The procurement process is to be finalized until January 2021. During the works, technology used within the Polish Fonet internal communications suite is going to be applied. The said system is license-manufactured in the United States of America by the Harris company.
The scope of the agreement includes modification of the HMMWV vehicles, which is to allow the Forward Air Controllers to carry out their tasks, providing the instructions and attack coordinates to the CAS aircraft, from the interior of light armoured vehicles. Such steps are taken in order to increase the level of safety for the FACs. In order to achieve the above, HMMWV vehicles will receive systems and software required for voice and video communications. Data transmission system is also a part of the aforesaid package.
Considering the needs expressed by the United States of America Air Force Battle Management Directorate, the iGov company has decided to acquire a “mature” solution, based on the existing technologies. Thus, in order to complete the contracted task, elements of the Fonet internal communications suite, developed by the Polish WB Electronics company and license manufactured in the US by Harris, have been included in the prospective package.
According to Chuck Reiche, iGOV’s Vice President of Business Development, the company has reviewed and cooperated with several OEMs, in order to gain an ability to use proper products which would be compliant with the government-issued requirements, technology- and business-wise. Reiche claims that partnership involving the Harris Communication Systems company was a critical element, since the products offered within the scope of radios and intercoms were seen valid, as components of the prospective suite.
Within the framework of the current contract, Fonet technology is going to be used as a building block for the battle management system which is to become a part of the US Forward Air Controllers’ inventory. In Poland, WB Group which developed the aforesaid technology has been excluded from the tender, the aim of which is to deliver the Rosomak BMS suite, since the Polish Ministry of Defence narrowed down the group of potential contractors, limiting that circle only to the companies controlled by the State Treasury.
Elements of the Fonet system (within the framework of the license granted to the Harris company by WB Electronics) are also used on the new generation JLTV tactical vehicles which, in a longer run, are to complement, and prospectively – replace, the HMMWV vehicles in the US military. A few days ago, as a part of LRIP initial manufacturing stage, a 42 million dollars worth contract was awarded, covering procurement of another lot of vehicles. The first amendment to the contract, made in March this year, was worth USD 243 million, and covered more than 650 vehicles. The low-volume production contract, after all options are selected, assumes that up to 16.9 thousand vehicles would be manufactured. Ultimately around 55 thousand such platforms are expected to be created, both for the US Army, as well as for the USMC.