Navy to award $690 million network contract next week

SAN DIEGO -- The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command next Wednesday plans to award a $690 million contract for shipboard networks to either Lockheed Martin Corp. or Northrop Grumman Corp., the SPAWAR shipboard network program manager said here at the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association-West conference. The two companies were awarded contracts to develop prototypes of the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services in March 2010. The winner selected Feb. 1 will get a contract to equip 54 ships in the fleet over a two-year period, Capt. D.J. LeGoff, the CANES program manager, said.

LeGoff said he will then kick off a new procurement to equip more ships, which the Navy plans to award in the third quarter of fiscal 2013. The service will run continuous competitions until the Navy installs CANES on all 286 ships and 60-plus submarines in the fleet.

Continuous competition will help keep costs down, LeGoff said. The Navy will own the CANES design and data rights, which also will save money in future competitions.

CANES will be based on commercial desktop and server computer hardware, though some of this gear will be strengthened to withstand the shocks and stresses of shipboard use.

Because installation costs are expected to account for about half the total value of the contract, the Navy wants to re-use as much of the existing shipboard infrastructure, including computer racks and fiber optic cabling, as possible, LeGoff said.

The CANES network ultimately will support 2,400 computer terminals on aircraft carriers and 200 on destroyers. Amphibious ships, which carry Marines, will have about 500 computers connected to the CANES network. On those ships the network will feature Marine command and control spaces and will host Marine applications, he said.