CANES to consolidate shipboard networks

As the Navy prepares to rework its shore-based networks under the Next Generation Enterprise Network initiative, a parallel effort is under way to streamline the networks on ships.

The Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) program is made up of two broad procurements linked by a vision of integrated command, control, communications, computers and intelligence capabilities (C4I), said Robert Wolborsky, head of the Tactical Networks Program Office at the Navy’s Program Executive Office for C4I in San Diego.

The first procurement, for which the Navy was expected to release a final request for proposals at the end of February, covers equipment for consolidating hardware terminals to support multiple networks, including the Integrated Shipboard Network System, Sensitive Compartmented Information networks and Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System-Maritime.

The second procurement, still in development, will be for a service-oriented architecture that supports C4I capabilities. A draft RFP is expected this spring.

SOA seeks to create widespread interoperability through the use of standard interfaces. With SOA, programmers can usually avoid duplicating software functions because they can tap existing programs to supply or transform data.

Hardware acquisition and SOA creation belong together under the CANES umbrella because even though SOA is theoretically platform-independent, “you don’t want to develop your software environment in isolation of your hardware completely,” Wolborsky said.

Even in well-connected environments, implementing SOA is a challenge. Aboard Navy ships, where signals can be disrupted and bandwidth can be low, SOA is an even bigger challenge. In the end, services that could safely reside at a central location in a well-connected environment will require deployment on each Navy ship.

Navy officials must decide which services are essential and which services ships can do without, Wolborsky said.

The service isn’t waiting for CANES to start down the SOA path, he added. “We’re working with the application domain today” and identifying a basic set of core services.

Navy officials plan to field a test program that virtualizes C4I and surveillance programs on an enterprise infrastructure, Wolborsky said. They will test the program in the USS Abraham Lincoln strike group this spring.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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