Holy Trinity

British Army Falcon Trunk Communications System
The British Army’s Falcon trunk communications system, elements of which are shown here, will be replaced by the new Trinity ensemble which will include ultra-high frequency and satellite communications links.

UK land forces are receiving a new trunk communications system courtesy of the Project Trinity initiative.

On 22nd August, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) awarded BAE Systems a contract worth $111 million to provide the Trinity trunk communications system to equip the country’s land forces. Trinity will replace the British Army’s existing Falcon trunk radio network. BAE Systems was also the prime contractor for Falcon which provides secure internet protocol voice and data traffic. Falcon is expected to leave service from circa 2030. Officials close to the Trinity programme told Armada there is likely to be some overlap between the retirement of Falcon and Trinity’s introduction.


Although BAE Systems is the prime contractor for Trinity, L3Harris will deliver the hardware and much of the software. From a hardware perspective, the Trinity architecture will comprise the company’s new RF-9800W Ultra High Frequency (UHF: 300 megahertz to three gigahertz) radio. A Satellite Communications (SATCOM) terminal is also included in the Trinity ensemble. L3Harris officials told Armada that the SATCOM bandwidths to be used by Trinity are awaiting formal selection by the MOD. Confirmation of the frequencies will determine which terminal is selected.

Both the SATCOM terminal and the RF-9800W will be linked to L3Harris’ RF-9800W-AT300 electronically steerable antenna. This antenna will handle both conventional radio and SATCOM traffic and will do so when stationary or while mobile. L3Harris provides its MissionOps system management software while BAE Systems provides the ensemble’s NetVipr switching software.

Into Service

L3Harris officials said that Trinity will provide connectivity from the operational level to the brigade level, although they added that it could also provide trunk communications down to a battlegroup if required. The next stage for the programme is a demonstration of the potential architecture scheduled for 2024. After this, the MOD will select the specific system elements it wants for the architecture. It is likely that the exact specifications for the SATCOM terminal could be determined at this point. Trinity’s initial operational capability is expected for 2025, with a full operational capability likely to be declared circa two-to-three years after.

Unlike the erstwhile Falcon system, Trinity will not provide brigade headquarters with any Command and Control (C2) system. Instead, the MOD is expected to provide this separately via the ministry’s OpSys programme.

The Trinity contract award is a step in the right direction. All being well, the programme will enter service on time and on budget. This is a communications success the MOD badly needs at a time when its Morpheus tactical communications and C2 system for the UK’s land forces is suffering considerable strain amidst delays.

by Dr. Thomas Withington