Rugged Workstation for US Navy
The average age of the computers on a US Navy ship might surprise you! Until you consider that the ship re-fit cycle is somewhere around seven years, and that the computer systems need to be specified, competed, procured and delivered prior to a refit taking place. I don’t have an exact number, but it’s old! (especially for a computer)
This makes it difficult for the Program Executive Office C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence) to fulfill its role of “providing the right communication and technology tools for Information Dominance: Anytime… Anywhere.”
PMW-1201 decided that what was needed on board all ships is a modern, powerful computer that can display and help analyze video data. The computer had to be portable, and fit through hatches on board ship, while providing multiple inputs for video feeds. Hence the Intelligence Carry-On Portable (or ICOP) program was born.
ACME Government Systems proposed a modified version of its existing triple screen portable computer – the MCCS-3U – and won an initial contract to supply the Navy with five trial systems.
These trial systems were so popular that many ships decided to allocate money from their operating funds to purchase systems immediately, rather then waiting for the systems to become available through a program of record. A significant number of systems were purchased this way, and using the feedback from the operators of the fielded units, ACME Government Systems was able to develop a new deployable workstation with additional capabilities required for the operational shipboard environment that was designed and tested to pass all the MILSTD’s required. The MilPAC-III was released in 2013 and is now being deployed broadly throughout the fleet.
Three screens, and a server-grade dual-processor motherboard are all encased in an aluminum and polymer-composite case, which has passed the stringent MIL-S-901D test to simulate a torpedo strike. After nine blows from a 400lb hammer dropped through up to 5’ the MilPAC-III amazingly booted up and worked flawlessly! The 901D2 test is usually regarded as a destructive.
The MilPAC-III / ICOP computer runs a suite of software that integrates commercial and military information dynamically and in real time. Using a customized version of Google Earth means that training for the analysts it minimized, and the operator interface is polished and high performance. The Google Earth data and overlays are stored in a removable RAID array on the MilPAC-III.
The Navy was so please with the fast rollout and performance of the ICOP program that it won awards: Department of the Navy Acquisition Excellence Award: The ICOP team – a joint Office of Naval Research (ONR) and PEO Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) unit level Rapid Technology Transition (RTT) effort – provided a highly successful prototype system which provides multi-source intelligence, analysis, and integrated 3-D operational picture of the battlespace. The ICOP was developed in only eight months as a response to an urgent Fleet requirement. Due to a highly successful operational assessment, the prototype was transitioned into long-term support.
MilPAC-III – the only Mil-Spec workstation with three screens and Mil-S-901D certification.
1 PMW 120 is the Battlefield Awareness and Information Operations Program Office. They deliver intelligence, meteorological, oceanographic and operations data to sailors.