Navy at-sea network passes key milestone

CANES will consolidate multiple fleet nets into one system

The Navy’s plan to link its warships into a single network just got a step closer to reality. The Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) program has completed a critical design review (CDR) for the two competing systems developed by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

The CDR is an important step in the program because it establishes the design baseline and determines that development is progressing on time and in budget. The design baseline establishes and defines the physical form, fit and functional characteristics of the CANES system, said Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command spokesman Steven Davis. With the baseline set down, he said CANES is moving into the systems fabrication, demonstration and test phases.

CANES intends to do away with the Navy’s many legacy, standalone networks while providing a flexible and responsive network architecture that can be rapidly modified to meet changing operational needs. The program consolidates and enhances five shipboard legacy networks to create a common computing environment infrastructure for command and control, communications, intelligence and logistics applications.

The program’s other goals are to strengthen network infrastructure, improve security, reduce the current hardware footprint, and reduce overall operational and ownership costs. By using a common set of equipment, training and logistics systems, CANES will also provide personnel with reduced operations and sustainment workloads, Navy officials said.

The next part of the program’s engineering and manufacturing and development (EMD) phase of CANES is completing a test readiness review, which ensures that the system’s design is ready to move into a formal contractor system integration test prior to a final down-select. The review will also evaluate test objectives, methods, procedures and scope while verifying that they meet program requirements. The selection of the winning system is scheduled for 2012, Davis said.

CANES had to recently revise its program schedule due to the fiscal year 2011 continuing resolution and congressional action, which delayed the EMD phase by five months.

However, Davis maintains that unless there are problems with the 2012 continuing resolution, the program is on track and on schedule to meet its major acquisition milestones. The first CANES installation on a Navy destroyer is planned for late in the 2012 fiscal year.

About the Author

Henry Kenyon is a contributing writer for Defense Systems.

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