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Navy Drops $2.5 Billion in Contracts to Update Shipboard Networks

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom is conducting sea trials in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California.

The littoral combat ship USS Freedom is conducting sea trials in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California. // U.S. Navy

The Navy today awarded five companies eight-year contracts valued at $2.5 billion to install standardized shipboard networks.

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command tapped BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services, General Dynamics C4 Systems, Global Technical Systems, Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. and Serco, Inc. for the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts for the Navy’s Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services.

The CANES program is intended to equip every ship in the fleet with a standards-based network.

CANES serves as a bridge to the future of Navy’s afloat networks, the service said, by consolidating existing legacy and standalone networks and providing the necessary infrastructure for applications, systems and services to operate in the tactical domain.

The five vendors will compete for task orders from the Navy on the CANES contract.

Navy Official: Current Legacy Networks 'Not Sustainable'

SPAWAR said CANES represents a critical component of the Navy's modernization planning by upgrading cybersecurity, command and control, communications and intelligence systems afloat.

“The increased standardization will reduce the number of network variants by ship class across the fleet,” said Rear Adm. Christian Becker, program executive officer for command, control communications and intelligence at SPAWAR. "The operating systems that exist today on some of those legacy networks are not sustainable. CANES allows us to deploy current operating systems and then upgrade or stay current with future changes to those operating systems in a more cost effective and timely way."

He added, "As we deploy CANES we create a platform where we can increase our speed to capability, and where we can control more effectively our cost of capabilities that ride on top of that platform. And then, of course, that brings with it our ability to defend our capabilities -- our cybersecurity posture -- in ways that are more effective both for cost and the mission.”

SPAWAR selected Northrop Grumman for its initial CANES contract valued at $638 million in February 2012. CANES installations have been successfully completed on nine destroyers. Installations continue on three carriers, one amphibious assault ship, eight destroyers, one landing dock ship and one cruiser. An additional 28 installations are planned throughout fiscal 2015 and 2016.

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