Navy awards $20m contract to Kaz

In an IT services contract worth $20 million the Royal Australian Navy's Fleet Information Systems Support Organization (FISSO) will provide mail services for all 60 Australian Naval ships.

The contract, initially for three years with a possible two-year extension, was announced today by Telstra subsidiary KAZ.

FISSO currently provides a range of services to the Navy including real-time chat and e-mail, and ship location information during wartime. This new contract will allow sailors to access satellite-based Web services including e-mail and Internet content. All information is screened for appropriate content and is integrated with defence-class antispam and antivirus products. Sailors will only be able to access e-mail and Internet content via government-owned satellites intermittently.

KAZ service delivery manager Ian Rose said the contract solely supports the warship and crew when at sea. When docked, a 10MB pipe connects a ship to the maritime network.

"We are basically supporting an office environment which moves and has a fully supported LAN on board; the ships could be anywhere from here to the gulf," Rose said.

"Our prime role is to support the ships at sea, although we do run a supported gateway between sea and land. Not all ships can be up all the time (on satellite communications), but basically each ship is its own domain and operates on a stand-alone basis.

"The ships will have uptime for a couple of hours a day for mail, defence Web access and the Internet, but some ships will have constant connectivity and all mail and content filters common to a standard office."

All sailors will use a specified identification number for identity confirmation. Rose said most ships have on average 60 public workstations; these were purchased some 18 months ago under the Australian Defence Force's network-centric warfare project.

KAZ beat CSC, Tennix, Lockheed Martin and ADI for the contract.

Commodore Longbottom, Navy systems director general, said the key feature of the contract is value for money for the commonwealth and improved service delivery for people at sea.