Defence ministry invests in tagging system

August 2003 News

THE UK Ministry of Defence plans to spend 200 million pounds on sophisticated software systems to manage its 63 500 landvehicles around the globe.

The Defence Communication Services Agency (DCSA) is looking for IT suppliers to support the whole fleet management (WFM) initiative. At present, the army keeps track of vehicles - including cars, trucks and tanks - with a mix of paper and software packages that tend to be unique to individual barracks. The WFM strategy will create a single global system to increase efficiency and lower cost.

The project will have two phases. The initial contract will be for a system to cater for about 13 000 users in the MoD's 1800 permanent barracks. The deal is likely to be worth at least 18 million pounds. The second phase will be to increase the scope of the system to include garrisons deployed in places, such as Kosovo and Iraq, and may include additional engineering and asset management services. This is likely to raise the price to 200 million pounds, says the DCSA.

The scheme will use a type of bar code technology to identify vehicles, including individual tank engines because they are often swapped between machines. Army personnel will be able to scan the tags to identify the vehicles and track their whereabouts. "The aim of the project is to drive coherence into management information systems to make life simpler in the units," said Lt Col Richard Wakefield, head of engineering and asset management at HQ Land Command.

The WFM initiative is likely to require significant process changes, and suppliers will be asked to provide programme management and business change services as well as hardware, software, technical support and integration.

The scope of the project's second phase is still under discussion. It will rely on the Defence Information Infrastructure contract that the MoD is already discussing with potential suppliers.

For more information contact Ministry of Defence Press Office, 0944 870 607 4455,

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