The Ministry of Defence plans to spend between £5 million and £10 million on a new mission planning system.
The system will support the 25 new Airbus A400M aircraft as they begin use in the Royal Air Force over the coming years.
The MoD has issued a contract notice asking suppliers to submit proposals for the system under a five-and-a-half year contract, and it expects to use five IT firms.
Crews at the main A400M bases, as well as during deployment, will use the system to plan and rehearse missions. They will also update stored data including maps.
RAF air crew will enter into the system pre-mission plans and post-mission data, even while on the aircraft, “by either data transfer device or dedicated laptop device”, the Ministry of Defence wrote in its contract notice.
The MoD said it would welcome “innovative approaches”, with suppliers also committing to support their technology throughout its use. Those interested have until 2 October to submit a request to participate.
Separately, the MoD is running the Defence Information Infrastructure programme, which aims to replace 300 legacy systems with a single infrastructure to improve communication. But the programme is set to cost £7.1 billion including the cost of related work and departmental overheads, and was recently criticised by the National Audit Office for being late and £185 million over budget.