After yearlong delay, Data Link Solutions set to upgrade military shipboard data networks

SAN DIEGO, 12 Feb. 2014. Military communications experts at Data Link Solutions LLC in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, won a long-delayed contract Tuesday for a major data communications system upgrade that will enhance the ability of Navy surface warships to exchange text and imagery data with aircraft and ground forces.

Officials of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) announced a $25 million contract to Data Link Solutions Tuesday for the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) on Ship (MOS) Modernization (MOS MOD) program, which has been held up for a year due to Pentagon budget cutbacks and congressional sequestration.

The original solicitation for the MOS MOD program was issued in September 2011, and an award had been expected in 2013. Data Link Solutions is a joint venture of Rockwell Collins and BAE Systems.

Related: Three companies win contracts to upgrade MIDS-LVT situational awareness terminals

The MOS MOD program seeks to alleviate obsolescence and supportability issues of the MIDS shipboard system, which receives and transmits text and imagery to and from military aircraft and ground forces to share the tactical picture in near-real time.

Awarding the contract were officials of the SPAWAR Program Executive Office (PEO) for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, & Intelligence (C4I), Command and Control, Program Office (PMW 150).

The goal of the MOS MOD contract is to replace old MIDS on Ship components such as the system's high-power amplifier (HPA), MIDS low-volume terminal (LVT), power supplies, software, and related components, Navy officials say.

Related: ViaSat and Data Link Solutions get orders for MIDS-LVT situational-awareness data terminals

The project also will prepare the MIDS on Ship system to accept future enhancements such as enhanced throughput (ET), concurrent multi-netting (CMN), and concurrent contention receive (CCR). MIDS is the NATO term for the Link 16 military tactical data exchange network. It represents an upgrade to the old Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS).

Link 16 helps military forces exchange text messages and imagery data, and provides two channels of digital voice -- one running at 2.4 kilobits per second, and the other at 16 kilobits per second.

The MOS MOD contract asks Data Link Solutions engineers to provide new hardware and software for a MOS MOD system that supports legacy MIDS JTRS and MIDS LVT-4 terminals for use on Navy surface warships. Company engineers also will build qualified and certified MOS MOD system hardware and spares, as well as provide logistics support.

Related: MIDS JTRS software-defined radio terminal gets DOD go-ahead for full production and fielding

On this 3-year contract Data Link Solutions will do the work in Wayne, N.J., and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and should be finished by February 2017. The contract has options that could increase its value to $66.3 million and extend work through early 2022.

For more information contact Data Link Solutions online at www.datalinksolutions.net, or SPAWAR at www.spawar.navy.mil/.

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