The people, equipment and computer programs working with the AEGIS Combat System go through a planned development and deployment process on their way to the AEGIS ships. The training and lifetime support engineering functions must remain current throughout the service life of the ships, typically twenty to thirty years or more. The research and development, testing, lifetime support engineering, in-service engineering, system integration, and training are all held at the AEGIS Shore Sites which operate on 24-hour shifts and are under tremendous pressure to satisfy thousands of potential users throughout the year, so downtime must be minimized.
Data Switching, Routing & Conversion plays a critical role in allowing AEGIS Shore Sites to simultaneously support multiple computer programs and equipment baselines. In many cases, the sites use simulators instead of actual combat system elements. Switching is considerably less expensive than buying multiple tactical equipment suites and also reduces the need for facility construction. Reliable data switching, routing and conversion is integral to the mission of an AEGIS land-based site; if the data handling infrastructure is down, then the site is down. One of the Navy sites served by X-COM Systems estimates that downtime of their site can cost the Navy as much as $40,000 per hour due to the ripple effect on operations, personnel and scheduling.
X-COM Systems Solutions for Naval Tactical Data Systems (NTDS)
As ships are built, the combat system configurations of tactical computers and weapons systems constantly change with technological advances and new requirements. To certify computer hardware and software program interoperability among various configurations, it is not feasible for the Navy to maintain an exact stand-alone replica of each ship's specific configuration at each of the testing & training centers. Therefore, the Navy leverages its test, training & support assets by connecting the various configurations and elements of the ship's combat system together via data conversion, routing and switching equipment. X-COM Systems is the leading provider of sophisticated high-speed data routing systems specifically for these purposes. These systems serve a critical role at U.S. Navy 24-hour support centers interconnecting a vast assortment of tactical computers and weapons systems components to mimic various ship configurations. As a result, the Navy has an economical and highly reliable system of systems for training officers and crew, for conducting equipment and systems testing, and for providing 24-hour technical support to ships on deployment at sea.
X-COM Systems products provide the ability to prepare the desired ship or pre-programmed combat system configuration with the simple push of a button as opposed to the site spending several hours or even days disconnecting, reconfiguring and reconnecting hundreds of heavy cables. For example, the site might be configured to train the crew of the USS Yorktown for a four-hour morning session, then by literally pushing a button, load a new configuration and set of programs to train the crew of the USS Cole that same afternoon. The result is many more hours available for critical readiness training, rather than system reconfiguration.