US Navy outfits destroyers with potential $30 million worth of Gigabit Ethernet

Boeing awarded new contract to install Gigabit Ethernet system on ships

US Navy
The US Navy said this week it was awarding Boeing a $16.7 million contract -- that with options could top out at $29.9 million -- to upgrade the networks onboard its guided missile destroyers as well as outfit new ships and other installations.

Boeing's Gigabit Ethernet Data Multiplex System (GEDMS) upgrades the current 100Mbps fiber-based backbone network onboard what's known as Arleigh Burke-Class guided-missile destroyers.  GEDMS is the heart and soul of the guided missile ships and basically handles ship-wide data transfers and supports navigation, combat, alarm and damage control systems.

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The system is also is the underlying communications mechanism for the Aegis missile system which uses a structure of radars to track and destroy targets.

According to the Navy, GEDMS was designed to replace the miles of point-to-point cabling, signal converters, junction boxes, and switchboards associated with conventional ship's cabling.

Boeing has been awarded a number of contracts over the years to help move the Navy to Ethernet networks.  For example, it was the contractor on a ship fiber upgrade in 2007 that cost $7 million and in 2008 it got another $5.4 million to continue the work.  In 2009 Boeing got a five-year, $42.9 million to upgrade and support ship-based Gigabit Ethernet networks.

In October 2011, Boeing said it had installed the first GEDMS on the USS Spruance, a newly commissioned Arleigh Burke-Class guided-missile destroyer.

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