The UK’s Bowman tactical communications system, which replaced the aging Clansman system, has encountered some problems with troops deployed in Afghanistan. The Bowman radios carried by the soldiers have a short battery life and are heavy. There is also a shortage of ancillary equipment, such as antennas and speakers, according to a May 14/09 report by the UK National Audit Office (NAO).
As DID reported earlier, a 2006 NAO report had identified a number of serious problems with the Bowman system resulting from the radical changes in communications technology and needs since the program was conceived in the 1980s. The report identified as issues the vast growth in bandwidth requirements due to UAVs et. al. transmitting video, the need for far greater capabilities without providing more money, the lack of robustness and modifiability in its closed architecture software systems, the effects of Bowman’s lack of definition on training and doctrine, and the effects of the program on the decimated British tactical radio industry.