MoD seeks £5m secure communications system for military divers

Government shops for encrypted ‘diveable’ solution that enables boats, land personnel, and divers to communicate with each other

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The Ministry of Defence is seeking a technology system to facilitate secure communications between military divers, boats, and personnel on land.

A £5m contract notice has been published outlining the department’s interest in “procuring a sub-surface-[to]-surface communications system to enable text-based duplex communications between military divers, their safety support vessel and a third-party land-based unit”.

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The Ministry added: “A small, on-the-man, diveable communications system is required to provide secure two-way messaging between divers whilst submerged and their surface safety boat. It must also provide encrypted beyond line of sight messaging via short burst data (SBD) services to a third-party land-based unit, preferably whilst the divers remain submerged. An easily transportable and suitably marinised boat located on the surface safety vessel must be able to communicate with the submerged divers and automatically relay messages sent between the divers and the third-party land-based unit.”

The procurement, which is being conducted by the MoD’s Defence Equipment and Support Underwater Electronic Warfare Delivery Team, is seeking systems that be can be independently configured by users, are simple to operate, and come with no risk of compromising the safety of the diver or their equipment.

Suppliers interested in providing such a platform have until 5 October to submit bids. A contract – worth an estimated £5m to the winning bidder – is scheduled to come into effect on 4 January 2021 and last for exactly 12 months.


Sam Trendall

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