C4ISR Case Studies
Installing Next Generation C4I Systems on a Nuclear Carrier
Information superiority can be decisive to battlefield success, and America’s fleet of nuclear aircraft carriers constitute one of the most effective means to project military power across the globe. So when the Navy planned to retrofit the USS John C. Stennis with a next generation C4I network, they turned to a reliable partner with the scale and knowledge to execute such a critical project, Serco.
The Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) platform was designed to standardize the U.S. Navy on a single networking platform to reduce vulnerability to cyber attacks, consolidate multiple legacy networks, and provide for fast and painless addition of future capabilities. CANES replaces five existing shipboard networks and used substantial of commercially available hardware, thereby driving down the total cost of ownership for the Navy.
USS Stennis was the very first CANES installation on a carrier. The project required 179 miles of cabling, replacing all of the network and computing gear, and installing 70 new steel foundations for server racks, antennae, and radomes. Nine months were allotted to complete the massive retrofit, that involved 200 planning yard drawings and technical documents, some of which were not ready as program began.
Serco was chosen due to our success of delivering large scale projects on deadline and the unique client reporting system employed to give visibility to the Navy, known as the Serco Program Integrated Reporting & Installation Tracking, or SPIRIT. SPIRIT integrates three key client requirements, tailored earned value management (EVM), quality assurance (QA) documentation, and weekly status reports, so that deck-plate personnel and senior program managers have a clear picture of the project status.
Serco delivered the program on time, marking the first CANES implementation on an aircraft carrier and the only CANES project that has been delivered on schedule. Serco’s scale, domain knowledge, and commitment to the mission all played a role in this significant upgrade.
24th Air Force Cyber Operations Support
The 24th Air Force (24 AF) is the operational warfighting organization that establishes, operates, maintains and defends Air Force networks and conducts full-spectrum operations in cyberspace. It establishes, operates and defends Air Force networks to ensure warfighters can maintain the information advantage as they fulfill military operations. The unit is responsible to conduct a full range of cyber operations.
The new 24 AF Headquarters (HQ) facility in San Antonio was outfitted to provide the infrastructure and technological resources needed to continue operating this important mission. Serco developed a comprehensive IT solution guided by three points:
- Develop a holistic solution to integrate and standardize the IT architecture across multiple networks and functions,
- Utilize the latest technology in virtualization and remote desktops to reduce clutter, maintenance requirements and power/cooling requirements,
- Ensure the technology provides the performance and mobility needed to perform the 24 AF mission and facilitate reliable collaboration among mission critical planning cells and throughout the wider enterprise.
Serco designed and implemented server-based computing systems that utilize Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) to deliver a major advancement in remote desktop performance over what had previously been possible with standard thin client systems. The architecture consists of zero client devices at the desktop that employ Personal Computer over Internet Protocol (PCoIP), which is capable of delivering high volume data or real time audio and video without jitter or delay. Zero client refers to ultrathin clients that deliver services with no software and minimal hardware requirements.
The zero clients connect to virtual desktops on a server for excellent performance meeting 99% of the 24 AF mission needs. For the remaining 1%, those users needing graphics-intensive computing, the same zero client can also connect to a blade-based graphics workstation via login options derived from user credentials and permissions.
Serco also integrated voice, video teleconferencing capabilities and situational awareness displays, along with the VDI, into the facility’s network distribution system across multiple networks. The result is an integrated IP-based total capability that is centrally managed and consistent across all platforms. Serco also implemented Defense Red Switch Network (DRSN), completed a structured fiber optic and Category 6 cabling system, and participated in the construction design working group to ensure supporting systems (e.g. Power and HVAC) were able to support the 24 AF’s IT needs.
As a result of Serco’s support, 24th Air Force enjoys a true state-of-the-art environment that has delivers the high level of performance and security requires to continue fulfilling the important missions protecting the nation’s security.