DDG 51


Amphibious Assault Ships Receive CANES IT software upgrade

The USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) is the first amphibious command ship to receive the new Consolidated Afloat Network Enterprise Services (CANES) network infrastructure, a technology which uses a federated architecture and commercial software programs to make ships’ IT systems more effective and secure.

The USS Blue Ridge, is the 7th Fleet flagship and is now docked in Yokosuka, Japan while it is undergoing the upgrade to its communications infrastructure.   

“CANES is the foundation for how we are going to bring our information age systems to the fleet…the Navy is the ultimate wireless customer. We depend on these transport links for everything that we do…It’s our life blood, so we have to build in security from the ground up,” said now retired RADM William E. Leigher, the former Director of Warfare Integration for Information Dominance, when CANES was first being installed in other ship classes several years ago.

Northrop Grumman is implementing the CANES infrastructure, which is made up of a communications sub-infrastructure, a storage sub-infrastructure, and a virtual environment, explained Robert Adams, Project Manager for the Network Integration Engineering Facility at Northrop Grumman.  

The communications sub-infrastructure of routers and switches, which allow the different networks to coordinate and share data, and the storage sub-infrastructure is the attached network where the operating systems and software applications are located. The virtual programming eliminates the need for physical servers hardwired for certain functions.

“We took everything out of its own physical box and put it in one that runs like an emulator. It’s all virtual at this point. It’s no longer just one server that is physically dedicated to a specific task,” said Chris Martinez, Information Systems Technician 1st Class in a press release.

The upgraded architectural design for CANES uses one comprehensive configuration of multiple networks, such as the unclassified network, the secret network, and the SCI network, Adams explained. This federated structure means that troubleshooting and security mechanisms for any one network can be implemented from a single node in the overall system making the networks more secure and maintenance an easier task.

The other advantage of CANES, reported Adams, is that it leverages the latest commercial off-the-shelf software for a more up-to-date and cost-effective system.

“CANES is a local area network of commercial off-the-shelf components…it is basically all of these commercial products that are packaged into a rack to be able to withstand harsh environmental conditions,” said Adams.

Using commercial software products means that the Northrop team does not have to start the configuration process from scratch and can augment and heighten security on existing storage and communications software for a more efficient upload, according to Adams.

About the Author

Katherine Owens is a freelance reporter for Defense Systems

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