IBM Lands UK Air Defence Extension

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“Significant obsolescence challenges in the supportability of the main system”

IBM has landed an £8 million agreement extension — with no competition — from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to give 12 months’ additional guidance for the command and regulate infrastructure of the UK’s aging Air Surveillance and Regulate Program a shift that implies programs to update Uk air defences could facial area some delay.

The extension to the £56 million agreement arrived with no a aggressive agreement observe, and emphasised the ongoing issues in upgrading the legacy systems that underpin defense of Uk airspace and the MOD’s potential to scramble jets.

(The agreement also serves as refreshing reminder that the MOD’s estate is not normally a lodestar of slicing edge tech. Among other illustrations: its continued reliance on punched paper tape to distribute and load cryptographic keys, such as for armed forces radios. Work is afoot on the other hand to vastly overhaul its electronic capabilities. The Military has also been recruiting a new Chief Technologies Officer as portion of that drive).

Look out for our in depth interview with British Military CIO Main Typical Jonathan Cole tomorrow on Computer system Enterprise Evaluate. 

The MOD claimed exemption from general public procurement principles on “absence of competition for complex reasons” grounds, saying no other contractor could cope with the “UCCS” (Uk Air Surveillance and Regulate Program Command and Regulate Program) provided its complexity and bespoke elements from IBM.

“Many specific hardware and software package components”

“As the initial process designer and manufacturer, IBM have more than 19 years’ encounter working the UCCS process which is complicated and necessitates considerable knowledge and encounter to integrate the lots of specific hardware and software package elements that it is built up from,” the MOD explained in a agreement observe posted July 30.

“The UCCS process is aging with considerable obsolescence challenges in the supportability of the main process and the affiliated voice communications system”, the MOD admitted.

“It is regarded that only the contractor has the complex encounter and knowledge and tooling at its disposal to guidance this critical process prior to its finish of provider, when it will be replaced by the MoD’s new Guardian process (which was procured by way of a aggressive tender workout advertised in the OJEU.)

Undertaking Guardian

IBM has also won the aggressive agreement to switch the process, which underpins the UK’s potential to scramble jets in response to threats in and around its airspace.

That agreement, publicly declared in 2018 and dubbed “Project Guardian” is worthy of some £80 million to the corporation. It was not right away clear when it is hoped to be finished. Official paperwork suggest that MOD assessments of specifications to switch the process began in early August 2014.

It will see IBM switch the present UCCS process, considered to be at RAF Boulmer and RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, as perfectly as in the Falkland Isles.

An before tender observe recommended that it will involve a main plane regulate system  with a new voice communications process that connects the Uk Defence Network of radars and radios. A key portion of Undertaking Guardian is the intention to guarantee Integrated “Link 16” (a armed forces information community utilised by NATO) communications and interoperability with NATO systems and networks.

See also: MOD Palms Microsoft £17 Million Azure Support Agreement – Devoid of Competitive Tender