Nuship Canberra Computer and Communication system

The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) communications and information systems department has installed the computer network and communications suite on the Nuship Canberra, the first of two landing helicopter dock (LHD) vessels.

Since installation, the crew have been assessing the system in a bid to maintain its operational ability before the vessel’s scheduled commissioning on 28 November.

In addition to offering enhanced potential for defence, the new system will enable the embarked forces and their headquarters staff to operate and communicate from the vessel.

Nuship Canberra communications and information warfare officer lieutenant commander Andrew Mannion said: "The planning for setting up the networks and communications systems onboard commenced early in the year.

"The communications suite on Canberra is significantly larger than any other ship in the fleet. We have approximately three times the amount of radios, networks and users."

Approximately 34 personnel from the department will operate the vessel’s six local area networks (LANs) and offer 24/7 information technology (IT) helpdesk and information management, in addition to overseeing the radio, satellite and visual signalling communications mediums.

"The communications suite on Canberra is significantly larger than any other ship in the fleet."

Around 50GB of data, including the ship’s administrative paperwork and processes, has been migrated to the system and log-ons have been created for all 400 crew members, together with additional accounts on the classified networks.

Mannion added: "We had to transfer data that we had accumulated over the past 18 months to the ship’s servers.

"When we start embarking forces, we will need to go through the same process for them, which could be approximately 300 additional personnel."

The vessel is also equipped with three internet cafés that allow crew to perform personal administration.

Work is still underway on the installation of a Wi-Fi network, which will enable crew and embarked forces to use personal devices to communicate with family and friends at home.

Image: Able Seaman Communication Information Systems Libby Pearce in the Nuship Canberra’s main planning room. Photo: courtesy of the Royal Australian Navy.

Defence Technology