Team Tempest is a partnered, co-funded element of the Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative and Acquisition Programme (FCAS TI & AP). The
initiative was launched in July 2018 by the RAF Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) and UK Industry partners to harness and develop UK-unique capabilities that are critical for next generation combat air capability and to retain the UK’s position as a globally competitive leader. With £2bn committed funding from the British Government over the next 4 years, Team Tempest is an integral part of the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Combat Air Strategy and will deliver a portfolio of flagship ground, synthetic and flight demonstrations to underpin a next generation combat air acquisition programme.
The associated and enabling Combat Air Secure Network (CASNet) is a managed service, provided by SecureCloud+ on behalf of the FCAS programme. The service supports secure, collaborative working and manages digital assets across industry, removing the barriers of sharing and enabling trusted team working.
Disparate communication platforms between MOD and industry partners significantly limit the capacity to collaborate, hindered further by the classification of data. Accordingly, Team Tempest had a fundamental challenge communicating both in person and digitally - suffering from inefficient and limited collaborative working, resulting in considerable travel and time penalties.
It was key that all parties work in harmony, sharing next generation concept ideas, to achieve the aims of the FCAS programme. The need for the partners to collaborate and share classified data was critical to the success of the programme. The participants wanted to reduce the need
for unproductive travel from location to location. Thus, the challenge was to ensure that the sharing of information was truly collaborative, allowing users to instantly join meetings across multiple organisations, share key information, and create and edit documents programme-wide.
- Fully assured and MOD accredited system ensuring Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability
- Adherence to MOD standards, policies and processes
- Limit the need for couriers and travel
- Seamless collaboration using a common interface, while incorporating legacy systems/platforms, across all partners
- Real-time immersive and interactive teamworking, creating a Single Information Environment
- High-quality voice, video and presentation capabilities, both in 1-to-1 and 1-to-many scenarios
- High-speed connectivity to enable effective and timely data exchange
- Agile to accommodate technological advances and innovation
- Scalable to facilitate future demands
- Provided as a fixed-cost Managed Service
- Live service delivered in line with the programme
Since the service launch in 2018, the client has requested additional capability to increase speed and efficiency of their collaborative working. In October 2020, Team Tempest extended SecureCloud+’s partnership by a further two years, with additional requirements such as:
- A greater scope to include more industry partner sites within the Team Tempest program.
- Secure email, both internally and integrated to MOD networks.
- Capability for users to work remotely anywhere, at any time, to increase flexibility and combat lockdown restrictions during COVID-19.
- Updates to existing online file and data exchange tools for increased user operability.
- Multiple digital, interactive whiteboards, supporting a collaboration application.
- A wider scope to utilise CASNet for additional MOD projects.
"The NCS enables the blending of information and people across dispersed groups enabling decisions between MOD and Industry partners to be made quickly and effectively."
SecureCloud+ was contracted to deliver a reliable, fast, collaborative and data exchange environment at a Classified level, deployed to an initial 10 Team Tempest locations across both MOD and industry partners.
Working with the MOD Defence Assurance and Information Security (DAIS) and ISS Defence ICT Design Authority, SecureCloud+ was able to deliver CASNet - a fully accredited Wide-Area Network.
Each location includes an integrated Networked Collaboration Service (NCS), providing an immersive and collaborative environment. NCS utilises familiar web-based collaboration and office tools such as Skype for Business and Microsoft SharePoint, ensuring a common interface to exchange and manage content. The solution included a comprehensive training package to ensure rapid user adoption.
The NCS enables the blending of information and people across dispersed groups to research, review, monitor, discover, save and analyse information across geographically dispersed locations, in real-time.
Following the deployment of CASNet, a fully assured Classified environment, immediate benefits were recognised. CASNet instilled confidence and trust throughout the partner community: users could enjoy face-to-face conversations, regardless of distance, over the video teleconference and exchange data seamlessly.
In addition, significant cost savings have been realised due to a significant reduction in travel and subsistence. Other benefits include:
- Improved productivity with impromptu meetings and instant sharing of content
- No more hand carriage of classified data, due to high-speed Internet-based connectivity
- Fully accredited classified environment, across multiple Government classifications
- End-to-end Managed Service with SecureCloud+ assuming appropriate Authority risk
- Location, network and partner communications systems agnostic
- Real-time, immersive and interactive experience with NCS
- Creation of a Single Information Environment where all users are contributors, minimising travel costs
- Seamless, persistent chat, realtime messaging and Voice or Video calls
- High Definition video teleconferencing facilities
- Task scheduling and data management
- Online file, data exchange and live streaming of partner whiteboards
- Agile and expandable for future requirements and enhancements
- Numerous hardware package options to suit all office environments, board rooms, huddle rooms, meeting rooms etc.
Since the service launch in 2018, SecureCloud+ have evolved the capability of the CIRRUS project to deliver additional functionality and capability to the client.
- Nodes have been installed at a further 7 Team Tempest locations across the UK, bringing the total number up to 17 with more to follow
- Cross-domain gateways, linking a multitude of systems
- Secure email capability with additional meeting booking and briefing functionality
- Remote access to digital workspaces for users to access their secure networks from disparate locations, especially during COVID-19
- Adaptive layout update to document-sharing data repository, ensuring a more
- A digital whiteboard application for real-time collaboration.
- A Partnership Innovation Forum to aid strategic direction for collaborative
initiatives beyond IT that support added-value engagement across the FCAS
- A single core, with servers centralised for increased resilience, scalability, flexibility and durability.
The key Phase 1 CASNet benefits were summarised in August 2019 by the Team Tempest Programme Manager, as follows:
- Capability provided as a service which affords significant flexibility over traditional procurement methods and aligns to the pace of delivery of FCAS TI and Team Tempest.
- Already delivering significant annual savings on travel and subsistence spending and these savings will only grow – estimated £1M per year savings at the height of the Tempest programme.
- Provides the latest tools for data exchange and collaboration at the secure levels required by the programme.
- Provides the capability for secure communication at a capacity and frequency not seen before in Combat Air (probably wider).
- Allows rapid, iterative working across Team Tempest and is facilitating new, transformative ways of working to enable the delivery of cutting-edge technology development at a fraction of the time & cost of previous programmes.
SecureCloud+’s implementation and ongoing provision of the CASNet managed service provides an easily-accessible, reliable and resilient secure environment, where all participants can collaborate continually.
It has removed unnecessary constraints and barriers in sharing, communicating and saving information across multiple sites and at various Government Classifications. Consequently, efficiencies and optimal ways of working are being realised across all aspects of Team Tempest and, most importantly, this vital programme is able to move at a pace hitherto unseen.
SecureCloud+ has a record of delivering innovative secure end-to-end managed services where quality and reliability are assured, appropriate risk is exported and assumed, and value-for-money is compelling.