February 3, 2012

Contract Award: Northrop Grumman receives the first delivery order for U.S. Navy CANES

News Report

As announced by U.S. DoD, Northrop Grumman, through its Space and Mission Systems Corp., Reston, Va., has been awarded a $36,646,047 delivery order under a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price contract (N00039-10-D-0028) for the procurement of the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) common computing environment to include guided missile destroyer (DDG) variant first article; DDG variant production units; and multipurpose amphibious assault ship variant first article.

This contract includes options, which, if exercised at the maximum quantities, would bring the cumulative value of the contract to an estimated $637,773,236. Work will be performed in San Diego, Calif., and is expected to be completed by September 2012.  If all contract options are exercised, work could continue until September 2013.

The issuance of this delivery order to Northrop Grumman is the result of the CANES competitive down-select to a single contractor for continued performance under the contract options for development, production and logistics support for CANES.

The Program

For years, the U.S. Navy has been living with a costly maintenance, logistics and support problem. The trouble is that each of the C4I systems aboard its ships requires a separate network infrastructure with a unique set of wires and experts to keep the system running. Now, the U.S. Navy plans to replace those "afloat networks" with a single, common network system. The goal of Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) is thus to consolidate and replace numerous legacy systems and deliver an open, common network to every ship, submarine and shore-based command and control center in the U.S. Navy.

From a programmatic point of view, CANES is the consolidation and enhancement of the requirements for five existing legacy network programs, as well as a single support framework for all C4I applications that currently require dedicated infrastructure to operate delivered and managed legacy systems. These include the Integrated Shipboard Network System (ISNS), Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) Networks, and Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System Maritime (CENTRIXS-M).

CANES will have at its roots primarily the ISNS, but will also incorporate the capabilities of other networks to create a single Consolidated Computing Environment using standard network infrastructure and a common rack architecture. Enterprise services will support hosting of both warfighting and administrative application programs. This evolution requires detailed technical exchanges between the programs’ engineers and a significant amount of resource reprogramming.

The program will take advantage of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), and rapid COTS insertion, in order to bring fiscal savings to the U.S. Navy, as well as operational agility to the warfighter. U.S. Navy leaders believein fact that they have been leaving money on the table by maintaining their old systems without gaining new capabilities. By consolidating the computing infrastructure around a common network, U.S. Navy officials hope to extract best-of-breed technology and capabilities from the commercial sector. The CANES solution should also solve a significant configuration management and supportability problem. Currently, each ship has a different configuration of hardware and applications. Training sailors aboard ship to operate and maintain all of the systems increases the complexity and total ownership costs to the U.S. Navy. By moving to a common configuration for hardware and enterprise services, trained sailors can operate and maintain CANES regardless of ship class.

By separating the hardware from the software, U.S. Navy should be also capable to accept emerging requirements and quickly turn them into software solutions that ride on the common CANES infrastructure. Additionally, the high cost and schedule requirements of installing a system on a ship is simplified by delivering a set of CD/DVDs or providing a software download from a secure website. This methodology also makes it technically viable to reuse software, increase open competition by using a non-proprietary CANES backbone, and support other business strategies that will make C4I systems more affordable, supportable and available to the warfighter.

The Context

Since 2010, CANES has witnessed a head-to-head competition between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Lockheed Martin's team included General Dynamics, ViaSat, Harris and American Systems. Northrop Grumman’s CANES team included IBM, Atlas TechnologiesBeatty and Company Computing, Juno Technologies, and Syzygy Technologies. On March 2010, both the two teams were awarded a contract for design and development of the CANES common computing environment. On July 2011, U.S. SPAWAR completed the Critical Design Reviews for both competing systems.

References: U.S. DoD (1), DefenceAerospace.com (2), SPAWAR (3), DefenseNews (4), Journal of Software Technology (5), Defence Industry Daily (6)

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