The Navy is employing the Aegis Open Architecture standard as part of its modernization program for cruisers and
destroyers equipped with the Aegis combat system, shown here aboard an Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyer. The
first of 22 Navy cruisers received its Aegis Open Architecture upgrade last fall. The modernization program for the 62-
ship class of Aegis-equipped destroyers will begin in 2012.
gate, two pass” internal review process for Navy acquisition programs to include OA questions to ask program managers at each review, said Benedict, who
chairs the Navy’s OA Enterprise Team.
“We think that OA is more than just a pocket of
interest, say, as in IWS,” Benedict said. “It really is the
way that the Navy — from leadership on down to the
executing program PEOs and, now, the program managers — are being tasked to move forward.”
Benedict regards communication as the greatest
challenge in implementing OA.
“Sometimes, if you ask 10 people their definition of
OA, you’re going to get 12 definitions,” he said.
Accordingly, in late 2008 the Navy took steps to nail
down the technical and business specifications of OA,
especially for the surface warfare community. PEO IWS
has published the “Surface Navy Combat Systems Development Strategy” and the “Acquisition Management
Planner” (AMP) as executive-level program roadmaps,
and the technically oriented “Architecture Description
Document” (ADD). The defense industry and related
government organizations have been asked to review the
latter document — which will be available on the Internet
to contractors — and provide feedback to PEO IWS.
“The AMP is based on some of the practices that
were pioneered by the submarine [community] in its
Acoustic Rapid COTS [commercial, off-the-shelf]
Insertion program,” Benedict said. “The ADD begins
the process of defining future surface combat systems
architecture to a level sufficient to guide the transformation of legacy PEO IWS Combat Systems into a single product line.”
Benedict sees OA as bringing significant business
advantages in acquisition, such as using successful
technology across a wide spectrum of systems, promoting more savings through interoperability. Also,
the plug-and-play aspect of OA will allow systems to
be deployed on schedule, even if some peripheral subsystems are not yet ready for service.
“Ultimately, what we also see as a tremendous
advantage of OA is increased competition,” he said.
“What I will call the ‘monolithic’ contracts of combat
systems of old — where one contractor owned all
aspects of the combat systems — we now see [OA] as