UK MoD contracts SEA for continued Royal Navy surface ship combat system support

The SEA CSH capability is fitted across various UK Royal Navy surface ships, including Type 23 frigates. Pictured is the Type 23 HMS Lancaster. (Credit: UK Royal Navy/Crown Copyright 2015)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded defence mission solutions company SEA a five-year contract to provide in-service combat system support, focused on the Combat System Highway (CSH) software network installed onboard several UK Royal Navy (RN) surface ships.

CSH enables sailors to determine the status of combat system elements in order to evaluate and ensure operational availability, including through performance monitoring, continued technological refresh, and obsolescence assessment.

In an 11 May statement announcing the contract award, SEA said “CSH provides a resilient, high-speed communication backbone, fitted in surface vessels to pass information between command, control, sensor, and weapon systems … to enable an integrated combat system.”

The CSH software system is fitted onboard several RN surface ships, including Type 23 frigates, Albion-class landing platform dock amphibious assault ships, and the fleet replenishment vessel RFA Fort Victoria. The contract also includes support at shore-based facilities.

“Ensuring the availability of equipment is a crucial aspect of the RN’s operational effectiveness,” Kerry Parfitt, SEA’s Head of Maritime Support and Services, said in the statement.

Samantha Bassett – the MoD’s Fleet Wide Combat Management Systems programme manager – added: “With a detailed technical knowledge of the system and proven level of service on the CSH, SEA has demonstrated its ability to maintain the CSH’s mission availability.”

As designer of and equipment technical authority for CSH, SEA has provided in-service support for the system throughout its life cycle. SEA noted in its statement that it has a wider history of working with the RN on systems support: for example, the company currently is contracted to provide in-service support and technology refresh for the Type 23s’ torpedo launchers and countermeasures systems, and to manage and update RN in-service sonar equipment.

SEA has also developed applications for ship and fleet protection, anti-submarine warfare, and integrated underwater situational awareness, the statement added.

by Dr. Lee Willett, London