Funding opens carrier to Windows

The Navy has cleared a hurdle to develop Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system to run the command and control systems for its next-generation aircraft carrier.

Newport News Shipbuilding received a $3.8-billion contract modification Jan. 26 from the Naval Sea Systems Command for CVN-77, which is the 10th and last Nimitz class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems Inc., a subcontractor, will use some of the budget to design, develop and test the ship's integrated warfare system, according to the Pentagon contract announcement.

Keith Hodson, a spokesman for Microsoft Government, welcomed the announcement because of uncertainty regarding the funding for CVN-77.

In making their case before Congress, Navy officials argued that they can use information technology to reduce the number of sailors needed to maintain the aircraft carrier and reduce overall maintenance costs by scheduling preventive maintenance and other means.

Lockheed Martin's selection of Microsoft, announced in August 2000, showed that Windows 2000 can be stable enough to run tactical applications. Microsoft's competitors who sell Unix operating systems, such as Sun Microsystems Inc., had previously ruled the roost selling command and control applications to the armed services. Microsoft's operating systems and applications seemed best suited for office uses, which could accommodate the occasional system crash with Windows 95 or Windows NT Server 3.51.

CVN-77 will replace the USS Kitty Hawk, which will be 45 years old when the Navy commissions the next-generation carrier in 2008. Construction of the aircraft carrier will begin this year.

CVN-77 will probably run a follow-up version to Windows 2000. That "Son of Windows" version likely will run on 10 Navy ships because Microsoft has signed an agreement to install the software they produce for CVN-77 on seven other existing carriers as well as two carriers to be constructed.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.