U.K. Home Office Selects Cobham for US$78M ESN Air-to-Ground Contract
Monday, August 19, 2019 | Comments

The U.K. Home Office selected Cobham to provide Emergency Services Network (ESN) Aircraft Communications System (ACS) in a contract worth £64 million (US$77.7 million). The ACS contract forms part of the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP) and is responsible for delivering the equipment and associated services to deliver the communications devices for the air-to-ground capability, approved for use on the ESN.

The ACS is an aircraft radio and control unit, which enables communications via the ESN up to an altitude of 10,000 feet. This ACS procurement forms part of the ESMCP and is responsible for delivering the services and associated equipment to deliver the devices for the ESN air capability, approved for use on the ESN. This procurement is to establish a framework agreement that the authority and nominated ESN user organizations (UOs) can use to procure the required goods and services for use on the ESN.

“The award of the ACS contract marks an extremely important milestone in the rollout of the ESN and allows us to look forward towards the deployment of a full 4G LTE air network, which will be a world first,” said Steve Whatson, deputy director for ESMCP. “We look forward to working closely with Cobham to deliver this capability.”

The system, which the Home Office called a first of its type worldwide, will provide mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) voice and high-speed data services over Long Term Evolution (LTE) for all U.K. police and air ambulance with deliveries during 2021 – 22.

The procurement was launched in December 2018 with a contract notice announcing the program’s intention to establish a framework agreement that the authority and nominated ESN UOs can use to procure the required goods and services for use on the ESN. The agreement will comprise a single supplier with a call-off period of 10 years with the option to extend for up to an additional five years. The estimated total value of the framework agreement is up to £100 million (US$121 million). The contract includes ongoing service management but excludes installation.

“This win reinforces Cobham’s position as the market leader in critical communications for airborne users,” said Paul Kahn, sector president of Cobham communication and connectivity. “We are proud to offer our continued support to U.K. emergency services having provided their existing TETRA communications systems since the inception of Airwave. We are excited to be involved in their transition to LTE, enabling new capabilities whilst maintaining the critical voice services upon which our emergency services depend to keep us safe.”

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