A HIGHLY-secure data management system developed by a Little Paxton company could play a key role in the success of future military operations.

MASS, a Cohort plc company, which recently moved into new premises after a major refurbishment, is part of Team Excalibur, a consortium led by Logica, a leading business and technology service company.

Team Excalibur, comprising Logica, MASS and SRC Inc, formerly Syracuse Research Corporation, has been chosen by the UK Ministry of Defence as the preferred bidder for Project Shepherd.

Project Shepherd, previously known as Defence Electronic Warfare Centre (DEWC) Improvement Programme, is a strategically important programme for the UK Ministry of Defence. It is aimed at ensuring that front-line forces are provided with improved electronic warfare information to support more effective operations.

In an environment where defence is being asked to achieve more for less, Shepherd will provide the defence electronic warfare centre with a crucial step-change in automated end-to-end capability to enable more efficient support to the front line, the company added.

The company, which had sales of £22m last year and expects to do even better this year, has invested heavily in development of the secure data management system over the past four years, a spokesman told The Hunts Post.

It will have vital importance not just to new systems such as the F35 joint strike fighter and Eurofighter Typhoon, but to many other air, land and sea based platforms - in fact, everything else that floats and flies for the UK military.

The multi-million-pound deal, if confirmed, will help secure jobs for the 200-strong workforce at MASS’s new Great North Road site and its second facility in Lincoln.

The company’s managing director, Ashley Lane, added: “The Shepherd programme will deliver a world-leading capability to the DEWC, ensuring our front-line forces have the latest and most up-to-date electronic warfare protection in theatre.”

The company added: “This is highly significant for us. It has good potential export prospects for us, on top of an already-healthy forward order book of more than £75m.”

MASS, formed in 1983 by four partners who, as colleagues at BAe Dynamics in Stevenage, saw the opportunity to supply mathematical and associated scientific services into the UK defence industry, became part of Cohort plc four years ago.