Defense IT

Navy awards $32.6M deal for shipboard info-sharing system

The Navy has awarded a $32.6 million contract for the latest iteration of a shipboard system designed to share information quickly and securely in a joint operating environment.

Under the terms of the contract, Data Link Solutions will build, integrate, test and deliver up to 12 Lot Four production units of the Multi-Functional Information Distribution System on Ship, which in acronym terms works out to MIDS on Ship, or MOS. The contract, awarded by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego, contains options that, if exercised, could raise the value of the deal to $38.6 million.

MOS is part of the ongoing upgrades to the Tactical Data Link (TDL) system used aboard Navy ships. A cornerstone of TDL has been the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS), part of a family of radio technologies commonly called Link 16. MOS represents the next generation of Link 16, whose original standards and technology date to 1975.

MOS and another TDL upgrade—the Next Generation Command and Control Process/Common Data Link Management System—have in the past been successfully tested in exercises involving the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and NATO. The system can use satellite links, an overhead aircraft operating or a system of ground links to allow allied forces to share information—from, say ground forces inland to ships at sea or incoming aircraft.

Data Link Solutions, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, won the contract after a competitive solicitation, though it proved to be the only bidder. Work is expected to be completed by December 2017.

Defense Systems Update

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