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The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency has awarded the FIREFLY contract to Thales Six-GTS France. This is valued at €42M for Deployable Communications and Information Systems. The system will support the NATO Response Force’s (NRF) communication needs when deployed. This includes the need to communicate with headquarters of NATO’s operational commands. The project will support the NRF’s small and medium Headquarters.

The NCI Agency, with the support of the selected contractor, will design, build, test and deliver robust, secure, modular, scalable and a sustainable DCIS system and services. The new systems will be integrated with NATO’s cryptographic equipment, satellite communications and military vehicles.

This project will increase NATO’s agility, reducing the time to deploy by implementing private cloud architectural principles and functions like automation and orchestration, which should significantly reduce the time to configure, deploy and activate service to the soldier.

The new project will be based on work previously done with industry to develop an architecture for a new DCIS. The Agency’s “DCIS Cube” architecture development work was undertaken hand-in-hand with leading industry partners.

Through workshops and architectural demonstrations, the NCI Agency and representatives from a number of companies worked together to produce and architecture for a new DCIS. The architecture uses commercial industry best practice and private cloud concepts, but adopted for military use. The FIREFLY provides Information and Communications Technology (service to the soldier through a deployable Infrastructure as a Service and NATO data centres). There is also an autonomous mode, which can operate without connectivity to the centralised services.

Jack Richardson.