MOD invests in Guardian with IBM UK to protect the skies

The Ministry of Defence is to invest up to £80 million in an Air Command and Control System.

Known as Project Guardian, the system will support the continued early detection and rapid response to potential hostile or suspect aircraft that pose a threat to our sovereignty.

This project will see the current systems at RAF bases in the UK and Falkland Islands replaced with the new technology.

IBM Services in the UK is leading the way to develop and install the replacement system, with work being carried out by a dedicated team of specialists at IBM locations across the country.

The project will allow the RAF to exercise command and control of UK and NATO Fighters to intercept aggressive or suspect aircraft that are a threat. The RAF routinely intercept, identify and escort aircraft that transit international airspace within the UK’s area of interest and continue to be on call 365 days a year.

The Air Command and Control System is the computer system that takes in data to generate the Recognised Air Picture – a dynamic, real time depiction of aircraft in the flight information region, with each aircraft being identified as friendly or hostile.

“Achieving the highest levels of safety and performance are critical to Royal Air Force operations, said Paul Hubbard, Associate Partner, IBM Global Business Services, UK and Ireland. “Having access to real time data from a wide range of sources is vital. The new system will introduce new data sources and a tactical data link so information can be transmitted, replayed and received via radio waves or cable. The upgrades will continue improving the rapid exchange of real time command and control information and speed and accuracy of decision making.”

The contract value is approximately £60 million with a further £10m of additional costed options that the MOD can exercise plus potential for change notes taking the total value towards £80 million. It represents a continuation of IBM supplying this equipment to UK armed forces and includes five years of support services following the installations.

Director Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance, Dr Simon Dakin, of the MOD’s procurement organisation, Defence Equipment and Support, said:

“Guardian will provide a new Air Command and Control system connecting the UK’s defence network of radars and radio and delivering several new capabilities to improve communication and interoperability between UK, NATO and coalition aircraft, vital to the protection of the UK’s skies.”

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