The Navy expects to start taking deliveries around November of combat system equipment built by Leonardo DRS, under a contract awarded in April for computer consoles, displays, and peripherals (CDP). By then, the company will be completing deliveries of its Common Display System.
Darin Marley, Leonardo’s vice president for Navy program management, says the equipment suites are for Arleigh Burke–class destroyers, amphibious ships, and aircraft carriers. The Navy’s FFG(X) frigate is not yet part of the CDP award, but it could still be added, he says. Australia and Spain are planning to purchase the suite for their surface combatants through foreign military sales.
Leonardo DRS (formerly DRS Technologies; before that, Diagnostic Retrieval Systems) long has built processing systems, displays, and power management and machinery control systems for surface combatants and submarines. The company frequently partners with Lockheed Martin, prime contractor for the Aegis combat system and other surface and submarine combat systems.
Marley says the contract includes suites of display consoles, thin-client displays, multimission displays, and the necessary peripheral and support equipment. Some additional items are provided under the new award—the CDP consoles include both air-cooled and water-cooled open-architecture watch station variants.
The company says the equipment suites “provide the interface between the sailor and the ship’s combat systems.”
Marley notes an important goal in the selection of “common” equipment is to make the CDP “software agnostic,” such that Leonardo hardware components can run a range of combat-system software programs. The Common Display System and CDP architectures, based on commercial off-the-shelf components, represent a transition from the Navy’s previous “monolithic” combat system processor, the UYQ-70, built by Lockheed Martin and introduced in the 1990s. The Lockheed Martin system runs commercially developed software, which moved the Navy closer to a fully open combat-system computer architecture, but it consolidates processing and display functions in the single unit.
Marley says the CDP design approach “splits the processing out from the display and the interface with the sailor, allowing multiple configurations.”
The CDP design mirrors the Navy’s approach to upgrading combat system software programs through the common software library, which is owned by the Navy but maintained by Lockheed Martin’s Rotary and Mission Systems. The software library enables the company, as prime contractor for the Aegis, littoral combat ship, and FFG(X) combat systems, to easily configure capabilities to requirements.
Marley says the company is currently purchasing required components for manufacture and delivery “even within this calendar year.” He says the Navy has designated specific suppliers for some processing equipment, but generally the architecture is not made-to-order. The use of commercial devices and peripherals, he says, allows much faster turnaround and delivery than in the days when systems were unique and custom made.
The reliance on common, commercially based components also allows for easier modifications when the Navy wants to make them, he says, adding: “They place what they need on order on the initial design baseline, then use the contract options for follow-on modifications. They release a change and we then upgrade in the next version.”
The company will do the work at its Johnstown, Pennsylvania, facility, where it also builds elements of the Navy’s Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services (CANES) command-and-control network “backbone” for surface ships and submarines.
The initial CDP contract is a five-year award, with $62 million awarded for the first year and four option years that could bring its overall value to more than $460 million. However, Marley says that the amount of the initial award already has been increased.