BATUS COVER PIC 2 280819 CREDIT BFBS
Morpheus will allow commanders to view and direct forces on the battlefield and also for their vehicles to communicate with each other.
Technology

MOD 'committed' to delayed battlefield communications system despite warnings it is 'next procurement disaster'

BATUS COVER PIC 2 280819 CREDIT BFBS
Morpheus will allow commanders to view and direct forces on the battlefield and also for their vehicles to communicate with each other.

The Ministry of Defence has said it remains "committed" to the delayed battlefield communications system Morpheus, despite warnings it could become the military's "next procurement disaster".

The £330m Morpheus programme, designed by US-based General Dynamics in Oakdale, was supposed to be operational by 2025 but does not have a new date.

Some MPs and defence analysts have now warned it may not be ready for use until 2030, according to the Financial Times (FT).

The next-generation tactical communications system will link up soldiers and vehicles on the ground with commanders and weapons.

Involving software and hardware, it integrates radios, apps and other systems, replacing technology first introduced almost 20 years ago. 

In response to the delivery time for Morpheus, Defence Procurement Minister James Cartlidge said: "There is a limit to what I can say at the moment because we are having contractual discussions with the supplier."

Mark Francois, a member of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee and former Armed Forces Minister, told the FT that Morpheus was "rapidly evolving into the Army's next procurement disaster".

He drew parallels to the British Army's long-delayed Ajax armoured vehicle programme, where General Dynamics is also the main contractor. 

The MOD has so far spent £690m on Morpheus, for which Francois said there is "little more to show... than a bunch of consultant reports and PowerPoint slides".

He added that Morpheus was "unlikely to enter service until the next decade and the people who have been involved with it should hang their heads in shame". 

In response, a MOD spokesperson said: "As ministers have made clear, we remain committed to the Morpheus project. 

"While we continue to meet all operational requirements, we are reviewing next steps on how to best achieve our objectives."

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