The Coast Guard Cutter Northland is at sea with the first phase of communications systems upgrades for 270-foot medium endurance cutters as part of the Integrated Deepwater System (IDS). Northland is the first cutter to receive this upgrade, which immediately provides improved performance within existing communications systems and allows additional access to a variety of intelligence and data sources, previously unavailable to these cutters.
Among its enhanced capabilities, Northland will have access to classified and unclassified data communications through international maritime Satellite B services connectivity to the U.S. Department of Defense's Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNET). Additional future enhancements include doubling the data bandwidth and improving variable bandwidth efficiency, improvements that will enable cutters to exchange and process information more rapidly.
The Northland's initial upgrade was accomplished through the joint efforts of the Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS) team, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the crew of CGC Northland. It is the first in a series of enhancements planned for 270-foot cutters under the Coast Guard's Deepwater modernization program.
"Integrated command, control, communications, computers, information, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems are the backbone of Deepwater's system of systems design," said Gerry Moorman, ICGS President. "This upgrade provides real-time interaction between cutters at sea and shore- based resources, which allows the Coast Guard greater capability to carry out its vital missions."
Northland's upgrade was performed in conjunction with similar upgrades to the Communication Area Master Station Atlantic (CAMSLANT), located in Chesapeake, VA. In 2004, the Communication Area Master Station Pacific (CAMSPAC), located in Point Reyes, CA, will be upgraded. Upgrades to the entire 270-foot medium endurance cutter fleet of 13 ships will take place over the next six months, followed by upgrades to nine 378-foot high endurance cutters and 14 210-foot medium endurance cutters.
This upgrade was the direct result of the successful partnership between government and industry, including ICGS, the U.S. Coast Guard Telecommunication Information System Command
, the U.S. Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, several Lockheed Martin divisions and PROSOFT Corporation.