New Eastern Shipbuilding C5ISR production facility supports OPC construction

Written by Nick Blenkey
C5ISR facility opening ceremony

Joey D’Isernia, president of Eastern Shipbuilding Group cuts the ribbon to ceremonially open new C5ISR production facility,

Eastern Shipbuilding Group this week commissioned a new C5ISR (Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) production facility at its Allanton, Fla., shipyard. The new, dedicated shore-based facility is specifically tailored to the requirements of the U.S. Coast Guard offshore patrol cutter (OPC) program to support the build-up, integration, and testing of the C5ISR system prior to installation aboard the ship.

The co-location of the C5ISR components with ship construction activity significantly reduces program risk and costs, increases efficiency, and creates a more secure and collaborative environment for systems integration. The state-of-the-art facility is capable of holding two full-scale shipboard C5ISR operations spaces and bridge of the OPC to accurately replicate the onboard facilities and stay in line with the vessel construction schedule. ESG received test readiness approval from the USCG and commenced formal testing in August 2021.

ESG’s C5ISR PF is supported by several key industry leaders. Northrop Grumman (NG) is C5ISR primary system integrator and design Agent. L3Harris (L3H) is responsible for the exterior communications system, cybersecurity and design agent of the Aegis BL9G and AN/SPS-77(V)3 Multi-Mode Radar systems. Hose-McCann Communications (HMC) is responsible for the interior communications system. Rohde & Schwartz is responsible for the radio direction finder and identify friend or foe systems. Mid Atlantic Technical Engineering Services (MAETS) is responsible for the C5ISR rack development and construction. Scientific Research Corporation (SRC) is responsible for C5ISR rack development and construction.

“I want to thank our partners for their dedication and strong collaboration in support of the OPC program,” said Joey D’Isernia, president of Eastern Shipbuilding Group. “The commissioning of this C5ISR production facility is a significant event for our company and the program. I believe this is the first-ever on-premises C5ISR facility of a major DHS marine construction program and it is specifically designed to reduce risk for the USCG. The co-location of shipbuilder, and C5 providers brings the best of the best under one roof and makes it inherently more efficient, reliable, and cost-effective during production. Facilities of similar size scope and complexity are not co-located at other shipyards and thus cannot provide these benefits.”

“As the C5ISR Primary Systems Integrator, Northrop Grumman draws from a wealth of maritime systems integration and test experience including work on the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter and the U.S. Navy’s destroyers, large deck amphibious warships and littoral combat ships,” said Todd Leavitt, vice president, Northrop Grumman. “We have numerous engineers on-site at ESG’s production facility leading both the C5ISR and cyber related activities. This close collaboration with ESG and our industry partners provides significant efficiencies as well as cost and schedule risk reduction to the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Eastern is currently executing intra- and inter- system functional and integration testing for the OPC C5ISR systems. Having the production facility located on-site at the shipyard allows ESG to mitigate risk by providing full oversight of activities, and improved response times. ESG can also utilize the C5ISR suite at the facility to perform inter-platform operability testing with the OPC during trials. ESG can mitigate the risk of cyber vulnerabilities with complete scans and fixes prior to shipboard installation, which reduces cost and schedule impact to support a full authorization to operate (ATO) at delivery.

The facility includes a fully-functional full-scale mockup of the OPC’s electronics spaces including actual ship equipment. It is sized to support two OPC electronics suites in full scale mockups at the same time supporting concurrent testing events. The PF will also be used to execute C5ISR factory training and familiarization training for the OPC crewmembers utilizing the full suite of shipboard electronic space equipment in full scale mockups.

Construction of the facility was funded with Florida state legislative appropriation funds, demonstrating the state’s and region’s commitment to the OPC program. The facility employs upwards of 25 full time personnel during testing, providing the area with high-paying and skilled STEM jobs in the highly competitive electronics and cybersecurity industries.

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