New Jam-Proof High-Speed Data Link Sought By Navy

According to service officials, the Navy hopes the benefits of competition will make it feasible to finally link warships with a jam-proof highspeed data system.

The Navy is laying plans to open to competition its sophisticated AN/WSC-6 communications system. Plans call for holding the competition in 1987 for a fiscal-year 1988 contract to outfit the Navy's 15 aircraft carriers with the system, said Rear Adm. Stuart F. Piatt, the Navy's Competition Advocate General.

The WSC-6 system costs about $2.5 million each. For the carrier program, the Navy has set aside about $50 million to pay for acquisition and spares. Officials hope the costs will come down with competition. If costs come down enough, the Navy would like to put the system on other warships, including battleships, amphibious assault ships and Aegis cruisers.

The system has eluded competition thus far simply because there is no one prime contractor. Parts of the system are bought from Raytheon Co., Magnavox Government and Industrial Electronics Division, E-Systems Inc., Varian Associates Inc. and Rockwell International Corp. The Navy hands the components to a separate contractor that integrates them into a working data link.

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