Navy launches $600m program to upgrade on-ship IT

Navy to upgrade Fleet Information Environment

HMAS Choules

HMAS Choules

Credit: POIS Justin Brown © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

The government has committed $600 million towards a major upgrade of the IT environment on Royal Australian Navy ships.

Defence minister Christopher Pyne said that the funds would be used to modernise the Fleet Information Environment (FIE), which comprises both classified and unclassified computer networks.

The FIE includes on-ship communications and external communications over radio and satellite links.

“It’s fundamental to Navy’s ability to operate the fleet day-to-day, including participating in operations with allied nations,” Pyne said.

The existing FIE has been in use for over a decade. The government said the project was the “first step towards rolling out contemporary computer systems to the fleet over the next decade”

In 2017 the Navy staged trials involving the use of a Windows 10-based environment on board HMAS Choules as it eyed an upgrade to the FIE.

Earlier this year the government said that more than 100,000 Department of Defence users had migrated from Windows XP to Windows 10 as part of the End User Computing project.

In February the government announced that Leidos had delivered new ICT platforms that “will sustain Windows 10 and associated systems for Defence users on time and under budget.”

Leidos will provide ongoing support for the Microsoft OS including managing access to applications as part of a $67.59 million, three-year contract.

Also in February Leidos was revealed to be the prime system integrator for Joint Project (JP) 2096 Phase 1: a project intended to make it easier to search, access and analyse data on the Defence Secret Network (DSN).

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