In 2001, General Dynamics UK was awarded the contract to deliver Bowman, the tactical C4I system for the British armed forces. Bowman delivered a step change in capability over the Clansman family of radios through its security, data capability, reliability and resilience against Electronic Warfare (EW) attack.
Bowman is a tactical communications system integrating digital voice and data technology to provide secure radio, telephone, intercom and tactical internet services in a modular and fully integrated system. The programme included the digitisation of more than 18,000 platforms, including vehicles, helicopters, naval vessels, landing craft and fixed HQ buildings.
ComBAT and P-BISA are the two main components in the battle management system which was procured as part of the UK’s Bowman project.
The system consists of:
· Common Battlefield Application Toolset (ComBAT)
· Armoured Platform Battlefield Information System Application (P-BISA) – known as Bowman ComBAT Infrastructure and Platform (BCIP). BCIP consists of three interrelated projects fielded together as a single system.
ComBAT provides situation awareness, instant messaging, mission planning, logistics, intelligence and a geographical information system; and has been optimised for use in armoured fighting vehicles, individual dismounted soldier systems and operational staff configurations.
The infrastructure part of BCIP includes the provision of a variety of hardware and software items, particularly to support the operation of Headquarters. Hardware included A1 plotters, large screen displays, A3 / A4 printers, servers with RAID storage, projectors and smartboards. Software included an office automation suite, originally OpenOffice, now changed to Microsoft Office, centralised file and printer sharing, and network Quality of Service management supporting a Bulk File Transfer capability between headquarters.
The Platform Battlefield Information System Application (P-BISA) integrates ComBAT and the infrastructure software, together with existing and planned systems and sensors into armoured fighting vehicles. P-BISA introduces additional man machine interface (MMI) enhancements allowing for operations to be performed on-the-move in the form of crew station bezel function keys, commanders point device (CPD) and optimised ComBAT screen layout/functions.