Navy carrier to run Win 2000

Navy carrier to run Win 2000

Selection of OS for aircraft vehicle will likely reduce costs, official says

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

The Navy's next-generation aircraft carrier will use Microsoft Windows 2000 to run its communications systems, aircraft and weapons launchers, and other ship electronics.

The CVN 77, one of the Navy's nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, will run Microsoft Windows 2000 for a variety of communications and weapons systems.

Newport News Shipbuilding is constructing CVN 77, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, for the Navy in Newport News, Va. In January, the shipbuilder chose Lockheed Martin Corp. to develop the carrier's integrated warfare systems, said Jerri Fuller Dickseski, a company spokeswoman. Lockheed Martin officials chose Microsoft for the project.

Following a seven-year shipbuilding project to begin in February, CVN 77 is expected to enter the fleet in 2008, she said.

Lockheed Martin officials selected Microsoft as a subcontractor on July 13, said Rich Lockwood, director of advanced naval and command, control, communications, computers and intelligence programs for Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems in Moorestown, N.J.

Working with Windows 2000 and its successor operating systems 'should reduce lifecycle crewing and maintenance costs, as well as procurement costs,' he said. 'They will be running Windows or 'Son of Windows' by the time this ship deploys.'

On the run

Using a particular operating system to run a score of operations, rather than several legacy systems, will let the Navy train its sailors to use one OS, Lockwood said. In the Navy, 'there's been a consistent mindset to take costs out from the beginning,' when designing ships.

Lockheed Martin officials chose Microsoft in part because of the company's 'experience in computers, networks and systems,' Lockwood said. 'We felt that Microsoft had a lot of insight' that could help Lockheed Martin stay current with commercial technology, he said.

'This is a new area for us,' said Keith Hodson, a Microsoft Government spokesman. 'Windows-based products have not traditionally been associated with Defense Department-specific mission-critical applications.'

Windows-based software could help the Navy reduce personnel it needs to run a carrier, said Willie Williamson, a retired two-star admiral who's Microsoft Government's business strategy executive director. Williamson commanded the USS Nimitz during Operation Desert Storm, and he commanded the John F. Kennedy Battlegroup during a deployment to the Mediterranean and Pacific less than three years ago.

It takes 1,000 sailors 'just to get a ship moving,' Williamson said. Microsoft software could let the ship's crew know when there's a pending failure in a ship's engineering system, for example, he said.

Lockheed Martin will use Microsoft OSes for operator workstations in flight crew ready rooms, as well as systems including radar, aircraft and weapons launchers, sensors, ship network connectivity and aircraft control. The Navy also will use Microsoft software to run more mundane programs, Lockwood said.

Lockheed Martin's Newport News subcontract is worth $500 million over seven years, Lockwood said.

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