NORFOLK, Va. — Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic Fleet Readiness Directorate Installation Office Atlantic (FIO) reached the last milestone of the production phase for the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) refresh on USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) at General Dynamics NASSCO-Norfolk shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia April 17.
The production phase, which started in January 2018, required a combination of shipboard installs and the removal and replacement of existing hardware for upgrades. The installation and testing phase is on track to be completed by August.
As the Navy continues to deploy CANES across the fleet with a 2024 target completion date, several ships are scheduled to receive the first upgrade to their previously installed CANES network. Carter Hall received her initial CANES install during a Chief of Naval Operations Availability July 2014 to August 2015.
“It’s a big milestone in the CANES progression,” said Lt. Cmdr. Chris Matters, Carter Hall CANES install project lead, Fleet Readiness Directorate Installation Office Atlantic. “We started CANES installs on the ships four years ago, and this is the next generation of the process where ships with CANES networks are getting an updated version.”
Seven data centers were removed from Carter Hall and sent to a commercial facility for software upgrades. The chassis will be retrofitted and reutilized for a future CANES install, while the data centers were returned to the ship with new racks. The edge switches and backbone switches were retrofitted aboard the ship.
“This ship is getting updated hardware as well as a software update for CANES,” said Matters. “This is the first time we’ve actually removed CANES equipment from a platform.”
Unlike the initial install which required heavy industrial work to the ship, Carter Hall’s refresh required minimal infrastructure improvements and ship alterations. The install team reutilized the same rigging paths and access cuts from the first installation.
“We don’t have to do massive industrial changes such as cutting out old equipment, reinstalling foundations and doing steel work,” said Matters, who also served as the assistant project lead on the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) CANES install. “On an initial CANES install there is a lot of heavy industrial work to modify the ship. The only industrial work required for Carter Hall was to cut a hole in the side of the ship to get the racks off.”
Future CANES data center upgrades will be sent to the SSC Atlantic Network Integration and Engineering Facility (NIEF) on Naval Station Norfolk. The SSC Atlantic NIEF consists of four laboratories, significantly increasing CANES integration and engineering capacity from the previously utilized commercial facility. This increases capacity for initial system builds and technology refreshment, and supports the fiscal year 18-21 fielding plan.
“The CANES refresh is an important step in returning warships to the fleet,” said Matters. “We get a chance to improve combat capabilities, end-user efficiency and new advancements to command, control, communications, computers, combat systems, and intelligence (C5I) systems. Most of these ships will leave their period of maintenance and shortly return to a workup schedule and deployments around the world with better networks than when they arrived.”
The foundation of the Navy’s afloat Information Warfare platform, CANES is a $12 billion program managed by the Navy’s Tactical Networks Program Office (PMW 160) at Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I). It has an inventory objective of 196 ships, submarines and shore sites. CANES consolidates five existing networks and reduces the information technology (IT) footprint while providing a common IT infrastructure across all security domains. CANES hosts or is connected to more than 100 warfighting, logistics and management applications. CANES is funded and programmed for a technology refresh strategy that ensures that the system is modernized on a regular basis, providing increased capabilities, mitigating end-of-life vulnerabilities and maintaining pace with the latest cybersecurity tools.
SSC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (C4ISR), cyber and information technology (IT) capabilities.