Focus on Tactical Land Communications

18 June 2019

As the command and control requirements of UK Armed Forces have evolved, so too has Leonardo's design and logistical support of advanced equipment capability to meet the changing demands of those on the front line.

UK Armed Forces’ approaches to command and control have become more complex over the past century and latterly have been subject to a digital revolution. Leonardo (and its predecessors) has been there at every step of the way, designing and manufacturing advanced equipment capability to meet the emerging demands of the warfighter.

From tactical radios and ruggedized computers to thermal imaging cameras and electronic force protection equipment, our land defence product portfolio supports the British Armed Forces’ technical capability, providing troops with the confidence and reassurance that they are operating on the front line with best-in-class equipment.

An ever-changing battlespace

The 21st Century theatre of war is a dynamic, asymmetrical battlespace without clearly defined boundaries, amidst a growing perception that events will mainly happen in a ‘grey zone’ such as election meddling, economic coercion and the ambiguous use of unconventional force. Land forces are often involved simultaneously in multiple lines of operation, with an enhanced emphasis on urban operations and a range of other activities. These often take place in complex physical terrain, but also increasingly concern cyberspace, the infosphere and multi-agency cooperation. The need for resilient and cost-effective joint land environment Tactical Communications and Information Systems (TacCIS) has never been greater, as recognised by the UK Ministry of Defence’s investment in the MORPHEUS Programme, with its “Broadband in the Battlespace” TRINITY programme also supported by the underlying Logistics Support Contract.

For the past 20 years, Leonardo’s Personal Role Radio (PRR) has performed an essential role for UK Armed Forces. It has significantly enhanced combat effectiveness by providing reliable local communications to those deployed on recent operations, providing a robust tactical voice channel at team level in close combat. The PRR’s simple ergonomics, as well as its unobtrusive integration into harness, further add to its value. As well as supplying the PRR, Leonardo has also supported it, in-service, for the past 15 years, including an urgent operational requirement-driven upgrade to an enhanced security (EZ) level.

Help them See, Keep them Safe

Tactical communications and battle management are now further enhanced by Leonardo’s Bowman BMDT-3 notebook computer and Bowman VUDT-3 touchscreen tablet, both of which deliver exceptional ruggedized computer technology designed to survive the harshest environments. Leonardo also supplies the modern, multi-input, high-definition, touchscreen RD-104 screen and processors. These give armoured fighting vehicle commanders access to the Platform Battlefield IS Application (PBISA) and associated surveillance and target acquisition (STA) sights.

Improved situational awareness extends to other aspects of British armoured fighting vehicles which also benefit from Leonardo’s leading-edge technology, such as the Driver's Night Vision System (DNVS 4). Powered by Leonardo’s high-performance thermal imaging sensors including Horizon and SLX Hawk, deployed forces benefit from enhanced persistent surveillance, day and night; and even under the most extreme weather conditions and battle obscuration.

Our smart sensor technology is also helping to counter the growing menace of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The GUARDIAN electronic counter-measures (ECM) suite has safeguarded personnel and vehicles with an invisible, responsive layer of close protection, since its first proven service on combat operations.

Sector-wide Collaboration in the Land Environment

A key element of Leonardo’s product development approach is collaboration, working closely with military end-users, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), science and technology, academia and industry experts. Such partnerships have helped us realise significant cost savings while delivering ever-greater levels of equipment availability based upon fully transparent equipment tracking at all times. Furthermore, we have set the foundations, not only for supporting current kit better, but also for a well-charted pathway to ensuring future asset visibility.

Supporting long-term excellence and budgetary targets

With the UK MOD’s commitment to long-term programmes, Leonardo has worked alongside our Armed Forces to develop Integrated Operational Support (IOS) programmes for the UK’s Wildcat, Merlin and Apache AH Mk.1 helicopter fleets, which we supplied. Our comprehensive support and maintenance services improve the levels of operational output continuously, thereby reducing through-life costs. This extends to the closest, trusted collaboration with both the platform and equipment OEMs, leading to our key goal of ease of integration, ideally through an open systems approach.

Additionally, we play a key role in the 10-year Typhoon Total Availability eNterprise (TyTAN) support solution for the RAF’s Typhoon fleet. This has improved aircraft availability and reduced operational costs of the fleet based at RAF Coningsby and RAF Lossiemouth, by more than £500 million. This vast payback may be reinvested into future Typhoon development and capability upgrades, developed through close cooperation between the user, the BAE Systems prime partner and Leonardo.

Working in close collaboration with UK military end-users, our partners and trusted suppliers at every level, Leonardo is proud to provide the most modern and cost-effective operational capabilities to the Armed Services who protect our country.

Further information

For further information about land communications, please email