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Canadian Surface Combatant RFQ

NavyShooter

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We have had our own software support section for many years.  Think back to Paramax days.

Having the ability to upgrade/modify our own software has been a critical piece in keeping the old CCS on the Frigates (Pre-HCM Ops Room stuff) running and working with newer systems.

If we didn't have that ability, we'd have had to go to the software company dozens of times over the years to help us incorporate various upgrades to our systems. 

Retaining that capability (in terms of the software support at least) is, in my opinion, a critical point.

Intellectual property rights for hull designs and forms is probably of much lesser importance, but IP Rights for points that are 'Canadianized' as part of the design process is probably a good idea.

Thinking back to the old Diemaco/Colt issues, our original C-7s were Colt Model 715's, and we paid a bunch of money for 'design' features that already existed but we were the first to integrate them into that model of rifle.

NS
 

Kirkhill

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A critical component of software management is competent IT personnel - people that are intimately familiar with the electronics and the stuff it is supposed to control.

Who is better prepared to manage that - technicians responsible for a fleet of 10 or technicians responsible for a fleet of 1000?

Not saying that CAF personnel, or Paramax personnel aren't up to the task.  Just saying that Lockmart people will be doing more, more often - practice.
 

NavyShooter

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It wasn't (and won't be) the technicians that are responsible, it's the Software support cell, which has a bunch of programmers and folks that have probably been very busy checking and verifying and 'beta testing' updates to the new system.

They were the same programmers that did it for years with the old CCS.

That said, we don't have the same version as anyone else in the world.  It's a Canadianized software variant that's specific to us.  So we have about 15 sets of this software to support, total, in the world.  Having a few of our own software engineers involved is not a bad thing.
 

Half Full

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That "software support cell" was not CAF/DND personnel.  It was Lockheed Martin personnel who won the ISS contract.  We were entitled to so many version changes/year at a certain $ amount. When it came up for renewal, MDA bid as well...but lost.  The same will be true for CSC...that's why we need the IP...so that any company that meets the requirements can bid to provide the ongoing support, thus ensuring we get the best product for the best value for Canadian Taxpayers.
 

Kirkhill

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Half Full said:
......that's why we need the IP...so that any company that meets the requirements can bid to provide the ongoing support, thus ensuring we get the best product for the best value for Canadian Taxpayers.

Disagree on that.

Once you have committed to a manufacturer you are committed to their solution.  If your concern is the rapid pace of change and the speed at which things become obsolete then you need to put that into your business model and plan to turn over your capital stock more frequently.

Don't plan on upgrading old kit.  Plan on buying new kit and selling old kit (if you can).
 

Good2Golf

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Maybe ships are different?  ???

GoC never required provision of IP to Canada for C-17, C-130J or CH-147F.  Perhaps the In-Service Support Capability Framework (ISSCF) mandated a contracted ISS capability that ensured/ensures the provision of in-service support for these aircraft, without DND itself needing to do any specific engineering (hardware or software) work that would require IP?

Does the question as to how much would an FMF do for deep maintenance/repair, vice having the ISS contractor conduct the required services come into play here?

Regards,
G2G
 

Half Full

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That would not be a very cost effective plan.  Why change your entire Command and Control System when all you need to do is upgrade the software? That's one of the advantages of high tech gear nowadays...we can improve the performance simply by upgrading its software.
 

AlexanderM

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Half Full said:
That would not be a very cost effective plan.  Why change your entire combat control system when all you need to do is upgrade the software? That's one of the advantages of high tech gear nowadays...we can improve the performance simply by upgrading its software.
Upgrades are definitely the way to go, suppliers are constantly working on upgrades, it's what keeps them current.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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Actually, Good2golf, the better analogy would be with the weapons and sensor systems integration on fighter planes rather than the various avionics on transport planes. I believe that the control of IP for the combat system of the CF-18 replacement is in fact, an issue for that very reason.

On the ship, all of the control of the weapons systems, such as they are and will be through the life of the ship, and all sensors and other information sources, are integrated into the Command and Control System software. That software almost constantly needs upgrading and maintenance (i.e. deleting past portions of code no longer required, or modified to increase processing speed, etc.)throughout the life of the system. And because such systems are open architecture nowadays, there will be numerous additions and deletions throughout the lifetime of the ship, as weapons or sensors are either replaced by a different one or are upgraded. All these require access to the full software and the authority to change it at our will, not that of the provider of the software. 
 

Good2Golf

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OGBD, thanks for that.  Interestingly, all of the transport (FW/RW) types I mentioned are operated within "joint user group" constructs, and so there are economies of scale amongst users and the OEM as well as solidarity amongst the user Nations that drives responsiveness from the OEM(s) to also comply with STANAGs and JUG agreements/policies/etc...  Even the CF-18 support world currently has a significant interaction with the Boeing and NAVAIR folks, in addition to the support with LM and L3 MAS, and Future Fighter Capability, whatever it will be, would likely have a relatively robust arrangement of in-service support for all aspects of the weapon system, h/w and s/w alike.

So then does the RCN intend to program the CSC C2 system on its own then upon "release-to-service"?  Does the USN, for example, program all its ships?  I thought LMCO was significantly involved with ongoing support of AEGIS and other such systems.  RCN securing IP and going it alone seems to be a direction opposite towards the trend for formalized ongoing/continuous ISS relationships between GoC and respective combat system OEMs.

Regards
G2G
 

Kirkhill

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I just want to jump in and state that when I was talking about replacing obsolescent kit rather than upgrading it I was talking about hardware and not software.

With respect to software - I am unaware of any software system that is sufficiently stable that it does not require a dedicated nursemaid. 
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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I don't necessarily mean that Canada will be going it alone G2G, though we do have CSEs that are quite competent and capable, and MARS officers trained to program mission profiles into the systems.

What I am aiming at, to give an instance would be: Say we decide at some point, for reasons x, y or z, to change for the latest Exocet SSMs instead of Harpoons. Some upgrading of the system is required as a result. But LockMart, who has the in-service contract, is not trusted by MBDA because of  trade secrets and MBDA tells the RCN that they will do the integration work themselves. The last thing you want is LM telling Canada "Nay! Nay! I own the IP on the CCS and you are not touching it."

That's the type of thing I am looking at.

 

Good2Golf

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Fair enough, OGBD, but then a change from Harpoon to Exocet would have to be worth the USN likely I inviting us to contribute to/lead numbered TFs, non?

Yes it LMCO, but they did DOD's bidding to build AEGIS and I'm sure Uncle Sam would ensure LM played nice (if we chose not to turf AGM-84 for Sex-o-cet, that is... ;)

Cheers
G2G
 

NavyShooter

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Half Full said:
That "software support cell" was not CAF/DND personnel.  It was Lockheed Martin personnel who won the ISS contract.  We were entitled to so many version changes/year at a certain $ amount. When it came up for renewal, MDA bid as well...but lost.  The same will be true for CSC...that's why we need the IP...so that any company that meets the requirements can bid to provide the ongoing support, thus ensuring we get the best product for the best value for Canadian Taxpayers.

I will disagree with your point here.

I'm talking the old CCS, not CMS.

There were uniformed personnel working on the 4th floor of S-82, and there are DND employees working there.  Bill M comes to mind particularly.

I do agree though that we need the IP, not so much because of the ability to change companies mid-stream, more to have some control over the software that is "Canadianized".

NS
 

Kirkhill

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Sorry, but I am failing to understand.  As usual.

Under what circumstance would LockMart (or any other company) supply you the details of their software with the understanding that at some point in time you will let General Dynamics (or any company) see and manipulate their software?

Or are you saying that the CAF will retain that capability in-house? 

In the event of a General Dynamics missile self-launching from a CAF ship operating a LockMart Control System that has been locally integrated by CAF personnel who are you going to call?

I have had enough experience trying to determine whether integration means a dry-contact, rs-232, USB or the flavour of the month bus, let alone integrating the control software, to be leary of anybody suggesting that a group of bodies operating on a two year career progression are not going to run into problems.  Especially if they are only operating a small fleet with infrequent changes.


 

Oldgateboatdriver

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Chris Pook said:
In the event of a General Dynamics missile self-launching from a CAF ship operating a LockMart Control System that has been locally integrated by CAF personnel who are you going to call?

Well, Ghostbusters most likely.

I know that there is a fear out there that we are getting close to "terminators" for some robotics military systems, but I have yet to see a naval weapons system or command and control system get up, walk to the safes, retrieve the keys, insert them and turn the missile system on, all by itself.  ;D
 

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NavyShooter said:
I will disagree with your point here.

I'm talking the old CCS, not CMS.

There were uniformed personnel working on the 4th floor of S-82, and there are DND employees working there.  Bill M comes to mind particularly.

We used to have MARS- E who were software programmers...but we got rid of that sub-occupation years ago.  Any uniformed personnel who were working within S-82 since around 2000 were supporting the LM staff and doing very little if any coding.  As Tactics Staff we worked directly with the LM personnel who were resident in S-82 to update/upgrade the versions of the CCS.
 
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