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CHIPS Articles: First Installation of Major Afloat Network Upgrade Brings Big Benefits to the Fleet

First Installation of Major Afloat Network Upgrade Brings Big Benefits to the Fleet
By Navy Tactical Networks Program Office - July-September 2019
San Diego–The Navy’s Tactical Networks Program Office (PMW 160) completed the first installation of a major upgrade to the Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES)—the Navy’s premier afloat tactical network—in late July. Capabilities inherent in this new baseline benefit system administrators and end users alike, enabling faster digital transformation, driving down costs and delivering more integrated warfighting capability to the fleet.

The new baseline is CANES Hardware Version 1.2 and Software Version 3.0 (HW 1.2/SW 3), and the recent first installation occurred on USS Sterett (DDG 104) during the ship’s scheduled Drydocking Selected Restricted Availability. Sterett Sailors now benefit from upgraded computing (processing and memory) that delivers an increase in network performance. CANES HW 1.2/SW 3 also incorporates the use of automation, system management suite capability upgrades and storage architecture implementations that allow for better data integrity, fault tolerance and overall system resiliency.

“This update to the CANES architecture is in response to fleet operational feedback we’ve received in various stakeholder forums,” said Nate Wheeler, CANES in-service assistant program manager. “The network is critical to conducting daily fleet operations on ships and submarines.”

To enhance systems management capability, CANES HW 1.2/SW 3 leverages the Microsoft System Center (MSSC). MSSC maintains a robust systems management toolkit but uses a simplified graphical user interface that has a standardized Microsoft product look that will feel familiar to ship’s force system administrators. An embedded operation manager function enables quick monitoring of network status, health and performance. In addition, the Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager in the MSSC enables a faster and cleaner deployment of CANES provisioning, applications and updates for Windows 10 and Microsoft Sever 2016, streamlining these tasks for shipboard system administrators.

The capabilities offered by CANES HW 1.2/SW 3 are not the only advantages from this recent fielding. The Sterett software loading process was revolutionary in itself, marking the first delivery of CANES via an established automation framework with focus on automating installation, rebuild and test of the system. Prior baselines used a manually intensive load process that required engineering documents consisting of thousands of pages of configurations. The new framework orchestrates the build from start to finish, ultimately saving weeks compared to previous baseline loads and allowing for faster delivery to the ship.

PMW 160 personnel also found ways to reduce application installation time and errors, critical improvements because CANES HW 1.2/SW 3 hosts or connects to more than 200 applications. To make the necessary improvements, the application integration team automated a significant number of procedures in the Hosted Application and Connected Systems Integration Manual, providing users with the installation instructions to configure CANES so applications and systems correctly install and operate on the network.

Providing end users with the right information in the right way is a major consideration for PMW 160. To help with that, CANES HW 1.2/SW 3 has the first software incorporating the use of the CANES Training Virtual Environment (TVE), which enables Sailors to train to the specific CANES software version on their particular ships. The first TVE course will take place in December 2019.

Stephanie Tharp, PMW 160 product support manager, said, “This training flexibility helps us keep pace with Agile software development efforts, while also increasing the number of training sites we offer the fleet.”

CANES TVE will increase the number of students who can receive training from 240 to 840 students annually. It also will provide infrastructure for other hosted and connected Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR) systems to load their software and train other maintainers, creating commonality and improved training across the NAVWAR Enterprise and meeting objectives from the C4I Capabilities Training Roadmap 2018-2028. (To learn more about the C4I Capabilities Training Roadmap 2018-2028, visit https://www.doncio.navy.mil/CHIPS/ArticleDetails.aspx?ID=10837.)

Going forward, PMW 160 will deliver, field and install CANES HW1.2/SW3 on 107 naval afloat and undersea platforms, including ships newly constructed for delivery to the Navy.

PMW 160 is part of the Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I), which delivers threat-based C4I and space system capabilities that enable the fleet to compete, deter and win. PEO C4I acquires, fields and supports C4I systems which extend across Navy, joint and coalition platforms. More information about PEO C4I and PMW 160 can be found at http://www.public.navy.mil/navwar/PEOC4I/Pages/default.aspx

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 4, 2018) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104).  U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Z.A. Landers
PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 4, 2018) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Z.A. Landers
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