Northrop Grumman [NOC] on June 1 delivered the last of 37 ships sets of the Navy’s newest shipboard computing system, closing the low-rate initial production (LRIP) phase of the program.

Northrop Grumman was the prime contractor during the design, development and limited deployment phase of the consolidated afloat networks and enterprise system (CANES), which eventually will simplify five of the Navy’s shipboard information technology systems to one.

The first lot of 37 systems in the design phase have been delivered to the Navy, which is responsible for installation. That phase is equivalent to LRIP in other acquisition programs. CANES adopted an open-systems architecture that will allow for near-constant technical refresh using available, non-developmental systems.

Northrop Grumman was awarded the initial design contract for CANES and delivery of the first 37 ship sets, for which the Navy took ownership of 100 percent of the data rights. Future upgrades to both the software and hardware components will be recompeted every two years to ensure the system remains technologically relevant.

By using almost entirely non-developmental commercial, off-the shelf technology, it provides a modern, common computing environment across the fleet to upgrade cybersecurity, command and control, communications and intelligence (C4I) and streamline logistics.

Sam Abbate, vice president and general manager, command and control division, Northrop Grumman Information Systems, said CANES would be a critical component of the Navy’s modernization plan.”

“By maximizing commonality, Northrop Grumman has delivered dozens of affordable, highly capable shipsets to enable warfighter information dominance,” he said in a statement.

CANES eventually will be installed on all the Navy’s in-service ships, submarines and certain land sites. The system already is installed and running on aircraft carriers, cruisers and several destroyers. Installations continue on carriers, an amphibious assault ship, landing dock ships, cruisers and destroyers.

With the Navy taking over data rights to the system and building in a semi-annual tech refresh schedule, CANES has come to be a poster child for the movement toward open systems architectures. Each semiannual tech update will be competitive and separate from the incumbent hardware supplier and includes relatively extensive government access to industry IP.

Northrop Grumman has been a leader in OA and applied its Modular Open Systems Approach-Competitive process to encourage continuous competition and achieve the lifecycle benefits of open systems architecture and commercial off-the-shelf components and software, the company says.

“The Navy used one of our CANES configurations and applied it to a destroyer and a cruiser, demonstrating the flexibility of our design to reduce network variants by ship class,” Abbate said.

The full-deployment phase of the program is being shared by seven companies including Northrop, which does not have the traditional contractual lock on access to the system and its components.

Northrop Grumman won the original $638 million contract to build and install the first phase of CANES systems in 2012. 

Northrop Grumman, along with General Dynamics [GD], BAE SystemsGlobal Technical Systems and Serco, in 2014 were awarded a total $2.5 billion in full deployment production contracts.

In an unusual move the Navy in January awarded one contract each to CGI Federal and DRS Laurel Technologies, for one system apiece and judged them eligible to compete for future work. The latter companies’ bids were originally rejected and rather than repeat the competition following a protest to the Government Accountability Office, the Navy decided to include both contractors. 

Defense Daily will host Open Architecture Summit 2015, focusing entirely on OA’s importance to the Department of Defense on Nov. 4 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C.