The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a £17m contract to a Steria-led consortium to carry out testing on operational communications systems.

The consortium brings together a collection of smaller specialist firms with systems integrator Steria to run the Land Systems Reference Centre (LSRC), a test facility for operational command support and information systems before they are deployed operationally by the armed forces.

Under the five-year contract, to begin in January, the Steria team will manage and support the LSRC and its capability using ITIL-based service management.

Phil Hutchinson, project manager for the LSRC within the MoD’s command support and information systems integrated project team, said: “The Steria team offer an approach which equips the LSRC to deal with the increasing demands for testing and acceptance, as it uses internationally recognised best practice methodologies to deliver a cost-effective programme.”

The team is made up of Steria, SCS, which will provide specialist management services and technical consultancy, logistics support firm Aspire, systems engineering specialist Drumgrange and facilities management firm Johnson Controls.

The MoD announcement comes just after the Housing Corporation signed a three-year managed infrastructure deal with Steria, worth £7.5m.