In procuring the BSCS system, the MOD has recognised the evolving challenge of protecting against biological attacks and their asymmetric nature. The BSCS system can be used in both military and civil situations, and, in military applications, is designed to protect UK’s deployed forces overseas from biological attack. BSCS is the latest biological protection capability to be developed for UK military forces. Developed by Thales in partnership with Dstl and DE&S, BSCS builds upon lessons learnt from previous systems, deployed operations and prototypes. BSCS’s export variant called ‘Spinnaker’ can be used to protect civil areas such as sporting stadia, and large public spaces therefore it can be used to protect major national sporting events, critical national infrastructure, large scale public gatherings etc.

Thales has built and led a partnership of 26 organisations to develop the BSCS system, 18 of which have been UK SMEs. Technical partners, including Williams Advanced Engineering, have been selected from all over the UK to build this leading edge technical solution.

Air Commodore David Lee who was responsible for the delivery of this capability into service said “BSCS is a critical capability for our deployed forces in an uncertain world. Asymmetric Warfare has presented CBRN challenges, the most recent of which being the chemical attacks in Syria - the biological threat to our forces is no less critical. The integrated project team of DE&S, Thales, Dstl and the RAF Regiment have worked extremely hard over the last two years to develop this world-leading and unique system which has now reached its Initial Operating Capability (IOC).

Wing Commander Chez Davies, officer commanding 20 Wing RAF Regiment, the unit that will operate BSCS, said “The capability is designed to maximise the probability of detection at locations with a high concentration of UK Defence personnel. The superb degree of confidence provided by BSCS is game changing and will allow commanders to take action in a timely manner to maximise the protection of our people.”

Gareth Williams, VP Secure Communications and Information Systems of Thales UK Ltd said “We are delighted to be delivering this first of 6 systems to the UK MOD. It has been a challenging and interesting programme to deliver. Our team has developed a leading edge biological surveillance capability through excellent cooperation with the experts at Dstl and DE&S. This system has been developed with over 30 UK supply chain organisations, 17 of which have been SMEs. We look forward to delivering the remaining 5 systems and building our positive working relationship with Dstl and DE&S.

[There will be more information on BSCS in the June issue of the magazine. Ed.]

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