WASHINGTON — A new request for information from the U.S. Navy outlines the service’s interest in launching a “hardware factory and hardware pipeline” to keep its fleet computing platforms up-to-date.
According to an Aug. 25 request posted by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), the sea service wants the factory as part of a broader effort to “architect, implement, and migrate” to a universally managed, infrastructure as a service environment for the sea service’s surface fleet. NAVSEA wants the pipeline and factory ready for use no later than fiscal 2023.
The Navy wants to use the hardware factory and hardware pipeline concept to use agile development to accelerate the development of its computing infrastructure. The new model is part of the Navy’s effort to transition away from technology insertions and move toward continuous hardware refreshes aboard its current and future surface fleet.
The request is for a program called Future Integrated Combat System Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Computing Infrastructure (FICS-CI), managed by NAVSEA’s Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems.
“The Navy envisions a transition to a HW Factory and HW Pipeline Process continuously delivering IaaS to pace technology, eliminate obsolescence, and enable continuous design and development of [computing infrastructure] solutions that meet ship needs with minimal deviation from commercial standards and practices,” the RFI states.
The program is part of an effort by the NAVSEA’s PEO IWS to migrate systems to a “common, scalable intermittently connected edge cloud architecture” using IaaS to enable platform as a service. NAVSEA wants to deploy the computing architecture to large and small combatants, aircraft carriers, amphibious ships, and “other related programs including U.S. Coast Guard, AEGIS Foreign Military Sales, and proposed future ship classes.”
The RFI lists several interest areas for the Navy: systems engineering; IaaS design and integration; technical data packages; production; diminishing manufacturing sources and material shortages, hardware, and software version release tracking; and integrated logistics support, maintenance and operations training.
“The HW Factory and HW Pipeline will streamline component selection, qualification, integration, life cycle support and training for the Fleet, leading to accelerated infrastructure development and fielding,” the RFI states. “The Navy envisions a continuous CI refresh cycle rapidly delivering improved Lethality, Combat Capability and Capacity to the Surface Navy Fleet to confront an increasing array of Strategic, Operational, and Tactical Challenges.”