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Feature: British Army seeks to recover from delayed Morpheus programme

A 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery Lance Bombardier calls in artillery fire using Bowman during Exercise ‘Cougar Crawl' in Poland in 2020. (Crown Copyright)

The UK Ministry of Defence's (MoD's) Morpheus tactical communications programme is suffering major delays after the contract with General Dynamics UK (GDUK) was cancelled in December 2023.

The contract, known as Evolve to Open Transition Partner (EvO TP), sought to transition the army's existing tactical communications system, Bowman, into an open modular system called Morpheus. The company was awarded the GBP330 million (USD441 million) contract in April 2017.

However, according to the MoD, GDUK failed to fulfil its contractual obligations, including delivering a large-scale laboratory-tested baseline capability by December 2020. With the original timescale “not met” and progress having “fallen short of what we expected”, the contract was subsequently “concluded” with the company, Minister for Defence Procurement of UK James Cartlidge said in a written statement to UK Parliament in December 2023.

Contrary to this, GDUK said that it had met these milestones but the MoD was shifting the requirements.

Morpheus was initially scheduled to enter service by 2025. However, because of the issues with EvO TP, the out-of-service date for Bowman will now be “extended out to no later than 2035, and no earlier than 2031, to bridge the capability gap until Morpheus delivers”, Cartlidge said.

No date has been set for when Morpheus will be operational.


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