The Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) provides a foundation to run various tactical systems, including combat systems, aboard US Navy ships, such as the destroyer Ross. (MC2 John Herman / US Navy)
WASHINGTON — The US Navy’s effort to develop and install a new shipboard tactical electronic network took a major leap forward Aug. 20 with the selection of five commercial teams to fill the fleet’s needs for the next eight years.
The Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) has already been installed on nine destroyers and is being fitted to 16 more ships. To reach a goal of 180 units by 2022, the Navy will fund a $2.53 billion effort to allow five vendors to build and install CANES systems.
The five are: BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services, Inc., Rockville, Maryland; General Dynamics C4 Systems, Taunton, Massachusetts; Global Technical Systems, Virginia Beach, Virginia; Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Herndon, Virginia; and Serco, Inc., Reston, Virginia.
Industry teams expected only three vendors would get CANES contracts, rather than five. Navy officials from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in San Diego would not comment on why five vendors were chosen rather than three, but they addressed several other issues in an Aug. 21 press call.
“The vendors selected are to compete for CANES delivery orders,” explained Rear Adm. Christian Becker, C4I program executive officer for SPAWAR.
“Our goal is to see competition throughout the 8-year period of performance,” said Capt. Ben McNeal, Navy Tactical Networks Program Manager.
New contracts will begin shortly with the award to each team of one destroyer to retrofit with CANES. Subsequent awards will be made on a competitive basis.
“Each CANES award is aligned to a Chief of Naval Operations availability,” said McNeal, referring to overhaul periods when a ship generally enters a shipyard. CANES installations, he said, “will be paced to the availabilities.”
The Navy expects about 20-30 ships per year will be upgraded, McNeal added.
While the number of CANES contracts each team receives will depend on its performance, the Navy wants to see all five teams work through the length of the eight-year contract period.
Competition will be continuous for the procurement of firm-fixed-price production and training units, SPAWAR said.
Initial operational test and evaluation (OT&E) of CANES began Aug. 11 aboard the destroyer Higgins, the first ship to complete an installation. A full deployment decision to authorize the program to move ahead to full operational capability is expected to be made in the spring of 2015.
In addition to the 25 ships either with CANES or having it installed, SPAWAR intends to carry out another 28 installations through 2016. The program’s goal is to have CANES installed on 180 ships, submarines and Maritime Operations Centers by the end of the contract in 2022 — roughly 60 percent of the fleet. ■