The UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) procurement unit Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) has declared initial operating capability (IOC) for command-and-control system (C2) GUARDIAN.
The system is managed by DE&S and delivered by IBM.
IBM’s contract for the new system includes equipment delivery and logistic support for the first five years, up to 2027.
This work is also expected to support a variety of jobs at IBM’s facilities in Buckinghamshire, Northumberland, Lincolnshire and Hampshire.
The latest declaration of IOC comes with the roll-out of a Control Reporting Centre (CRC) at Royal Air Force (RAF) Boulmer.
The new CRC provides a dynamic, real-time map of hostile and friendly aircraft.
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Apart from RAF Boulmer, the new system will also be installed at the RAF 78 Squadron in Swanwick, Hampshire.
Both the CRCs will operate round-the-clock, with a total of 29 dual workstations at Swanwick, and 50 dual workstations at Boulmer.
Once fully operational, the two CRCs could be staffed by more than 100 RAF battlespace management personnel.
DE&S Integrated Battlespace Operating Centre director Dr Simon Dakin said: “Delivering this step-change in capability is a massive achievement, reflecting superb joint working between the RAF, DE&S and IBM.
“The capability delivers a significant enhancement to UK security.”
GUARDIAN is a new C2 system that links the radios and radars of the UK and Nato, allowing communication between the aircraft and RAF bases.
The system is capable of receiving early warnings from Nato reporting centres to alert the UK of any potential threats.
With the new C2 upgrades, GUARDIAN will provide improved rapid real-time information exchange, as well as enable fast and precise decision-making.
Furthermore, GUARDIAN will allow the RAF to despatch fighter jets, to identify, intercept and escort the suspected aircraft.