Published 25 July 2022

Defence specialists called on by UK police to dispose of suspected bombs are being equipped with next-generation digital protection against remotely-triggered devices.

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The life-saving technology interrogates the airwaves for remote control signals that may be attempting to detonate an explosive device, allowing skilled Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) personnel to block them using cutting-edge digital techniques.

A £41 million contract placed with Team Endure under Leonardo has created 10 jobs with 100 roles supported around the country including 35 at Leonardo in Basildon and Southampton. Around 50% of the contract value will be delivered by SMEs.

The contract was placed by DE&S’ Force Protection Electronic Countermeasures delivery team.

Steve Westwood, FPEC delivery team leader at DE&S, said:

“There is great deal of pride within the team that they have secured the procurement of critical technology that will help keep members of the Armed Forces and public safer.”

DE&S CEO Sir Simon Bollom said:

“This British Army regiment carries out high risk duties often in direct protection of the public and it is essential that we provide them with the tools needed to carry out their job safely and effectively. Crucially the system is open architecture so it can be updated across its lifetime to ensure advancements is hostile technology can be countered.”

The capability will provide the British Army’s 11 EOD and Search Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps and the Royal Naval Fleet Diving Squadron with both vehicle-mounted and portable systems.

The open nature of the system, exploiting the Land Cyber and Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA) Architecture (LCA) aligns with defence policy of designing systems with hardware and software that can be flexibly deployed and upgraded over its life so ever evolving threats can be mitigated.

Major General Robin Anderton-Brown, UKStratCom Director Capability, said:

“This capability shows the MOD exploiting the best available technology from our innovative SMEs here in the UK. In a system designed for the information age, the procurement approach and open architecture will allow us to upgrade, at pace, to respond to new threats and technology. This cutting edge, modular capability will ensure our personnel are best able to deal with the threats they face, now and into the future.”

First deliveries of the new equipment are due to take place from Autumn 2024, with a view to deploying the technology across the whole of Defence’s specialist units responsible for explosive device and munitions disposal in 2025.

Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin, said:

“Our personnel work in hostile environments on dangerous tasks to keep our nation and its people safe. This multi-million-pound contract with Team Endure not only delivers crucial innovative protection for our Armed Forces but is in large part being delivered by UK SMEs.”