Capita & Brand Rex win Aircraft Carrier contract

Thursday 31 March 2011

Capita & Brand Rex win Aircraft Carrier contract

Providing the fibre optic communications infrastructure for the next generation of Royal Navy Aircraft Carriers.

Brand-Rex and Capita IT Services announce a £5 million contract to provide a complete fibre communications infrastructure for the two new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers commissioned by the Ministry of Defence. This prestigious contract is part of a multi-million pound programme that will see a new class of aircraft carrier operated by the Royal Navy. The Brand-Rex fibre optic network will provide the robust infrastructure for all IP based communications requirements on the two vessels – from voice and data systems to sophisticated aircraft deployment – creating a flexible and resilient communications system capable of serving the needs of these modern warships. Brand-Rex is working with long standing partner, Capita IT Services on this contract. Capita IT Services will provide both project management and installation services.

Brand-Rex was selected by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA) following successful demonstrations of the flexibility and robustness of its Air Blown Fibre system Blolite when installed in demanding environments.

Following the award of the design phase contract two years ago, the ACA has taken up its contract option to award Brand-Rex the production phase contract to deploy the sophisticated Blolite solution.  “Brand-Rex is delighted to have been chosen for this prestigious contract,” said Paul Lines, CEO of Brand-Rex, “It is a great endorsement from the MOD that our Blolite air blown fibre system can provide the security and resilience required within the challenging environment of an active aircraft carrier.”

“The contract is worth £3 million for Capita IT Services over three years. It will provide us with an excellent opportunity to draw upon our experience gained from similar projects across a variety of sectors including the aviation industry,” said Noel McNulty, business director, IT managed services, Capita IT Services. “We look forward to working with our partners on this exciting project.”

The two new vessels are being built in several sectional modules which will have Blolite Microduct installed throughout to ultimately carry the specially coated optical fibre. Blolite is an innovative method of fibre installation, as fibre is only installed into the ducts as it is needed allowing the Blolite system to develop as network requirements expand. Using compressed air specially coated optical fibres are blown into the pre-installed microducts, providing a flexible and cost-effective method of installing optical fibre with extensive future-proofing potential. The Blolite system is capable of blowing single coated fibres up to 300 metres – the length of three football pitches - through tortuous routes of bends and twists that will make up the 65,000 tonne, 285 metre long aircraft carriers.

Using this commercially available ‘pay as you grow’ fibre system offers considerable cost advantages to the MOD. By designing a fibre infrastructure fit for the demanding tasks of a modern navy using value for money components, Brand-Rex has allowed the MOD to opt for a single integrated network throughout each aircraft carrier. These networks will support all the communication functions, reducing the need for multiple sets of wiring, disparate management solutions and varying maintenance options providing significant cost savings while future-proofing the whole ship.

The Blolite system offers substantial flexibility and expansion capability without the upheaval of removing and replacing existing cabling. Brand-Rex will also provide full training for Royal Navy personnel to enable them to have the capability to blow fibre in an operational theatre, allowing upgrades to the communications infrastructure or damage control to take place without the need to return to port. The appointment of Brand-Rex’s trusted partner Capita IT Services further enhances the 15 years of close co-operation the two organisations have had.

“Blolite is a unique infrastructure solution that offers flexible and cost effective deployment with the ability to easily support future network expansion,” says Paul Lines. “With an anticipated operational lifespan of 50 years, the Brand-Rex Blolite network will grow with the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers supporting new innovations as they come on stream.”

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