In 2009 the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Thales UK are celebrating the fifth anniversary of the operational deployment of the Battle Group Thermal Imaging (BGTI) capability on Warrior and Scimitar armoured fighting vehicles.
The initial contract for BGTI was placed in August 2001, with the in-service date being declared in August 2004. Final deliveries were completed in 2006, on schedule. The vehicle conversion programme continued through 2007-8, and a further quantity of BGTI Systems were ordered in 2008.
The contract to support BGTI was implemented in 2004 and set new standards in terms of capability availability for the Warrior platform, which has been successfully maintained ever since. The key successes in delivery of this programme have been achieved by the effective partnership between Thales and Unipart, its defence logistics partner in the UK, via the support centre based close to the ‘purple gate’ (MOD’s joint logistics gateway) in Oxford.
Extensive support operations have been carried out by the Thales team, dedicated engineers who have been undertaking both repair and upgrade tasks helping to ensure maximum capability availability. The ability to rapidly deploy spares to theatre from the Thales and Unipart support centre has also been critical to the programme.
The BGTI system provides a significant uplift in platform performance, delivering the user with a range of imaging capabilities that have saved lives and significantly improved operational efficiency. The system encompasses both gunner and commander sights, a navigation system, far target location and crew displays. BGTI is linked with Bowman, which, upon implementation of BCIP V6, will provide interoperability with other platform systems.
Since it began active service BGTI has received wide operational acclaim with regards to performance, functionality and reliability. The system has demonstrated its ability to assist soldiers in identifying improvised explosive devices and enemy forces, helping to save the lives of coalition forces.
The BGTI support contract will operate until 2019 and continues to be a benchmark ‘delivery model’ for military system support programmes.Alex Cresswell, Managing Director of Thales UK’s land & joint systems business, says: “BGTI has significantly improved the performance of vehicles in theatre, helping to save lives and enhance coalition forces overall operations. We look forward to continuing our work on the BGTI, and its follow up programme over the coming years.”
Peter Cardy, MoD BGTI Programme Manager, adds: “This support contract has been a great success over the past five years. BGTI has provided users with a range of benefits that have enhanced their ability to carry out operations effectively and safely. The support delivered by Thales UK has ensured maximum availability of the platform and we look forward to continuing this excellent level of support for the remainder of the BGTI contract.”
Thales UK is currently bidding for a capability uplift to the existing BGTI system, to begin deployment across the Warrior fleet within the next five years. This programme, called WCSP (Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme) will support a true ‘fire on the move’ capability and significantly enhance the fightability of the platform. The system, known as BGTI+, offers a turret upgrade for the gunners sight that is stabilised in two axes.
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Notes to editors
• The BGTI support contract was implemented in 2004 by Thales UK/Unipart.
• Since implementation, the support programme has delivered market leading capability availability levels, reaching and maintaining 90% since 2008.
• The BGTI programme is a vehicle system which provides Gunner and Commander sights, navigation system, far target location and crew displays, interfaced with the Bowman system.
• Support has been effectively delivered via the support centre in Oxford and the dedicated team of support engineers carrying out upgrades and repairs in unit lines.
• The BGTI system has been wide acclaimed for its performance, functionality and reliability and has enabled users to significantly improve IED detection and enemy force ID in the battle space.
• BGTI + is being bid into LM and BAES on the WCSP programme and is expected to begin delivery in late 2013 – this would upgrade existing system to provide a ‘fire on the move’ capability for users.
About Thales and Thales UK
Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace, Space, Defence, Security and Transportation markets. In 2008 the company generated revenues of £10.2 billion, with 68,000 employees in 50 countries. With its 25,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equipment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers as local partners.
Thales UK employs 8,500 staff based at more than 40 locations. In 2008 Thales UK's revenues were over £1.4 bn.