System provides high-capacity information transport

  • Published
  • By Steven Swinehart
  • 95th Communications Group
For the past three years, the 95th Communications Group, in conjunction with the Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., has been planning for and executing the installation of the Combat Information Transport System. 

The system is a $25 million fiber backbone network upgrade that will provide high-capacity transport of data, voice and video for Edwards users. The CITS project has touched about 300 mission support facilities, ensuring existing fiber optic connections to each facility are adequate, and installing new or additional fiber optic cable if required. 

The transport system will also upgrade all network switching equipment and address power and environmental controls of the communication rooms. 

With the huge amount of trenching and digging, one primary concern was the environment. To help in this effort, a unique boring machine was used. This piece of equipment allowed installation of conduit under roadways and parking lots without digging them up. This not only prevented additional work from repairing the roadway but also allowed normal traffic to use the area without hindrance. 

At the completion of our construction in May, more than 80 miles of new underground conduit and 170 miles of new fiber optic cable have been installed. 

Organizations involved include 95th Civil Engineer and Transportation Directorate, Environmental Management and the CITS contractor, General Dynamics, ensuring every excavated area was returned to its original condition afterwards. 

The final cutover to the new network is scheduled to begin in September. The 95th CG will be working with facility managers and integrators to establish the best time for the actual cutover. Every effort will be taken to minimize the impact of this project on the Edwards community. 

This new technology will provide the base with the capability to support the arrival of future technological advances, such as enhanced, real-time intelligence and weather imagery data, desktop video teleconferencing and voice data transmission over the traditional computer network infrastructure. 

Immediate benefits will be better quality network services through establishment of networking redundancy and increased survivability, replacement of antiquated networking equipment and improvement of network throughput capabilities to support new information systems. The increased reliability and maintainability of the new CITS network will ensure continued base support and allow for future expansion as the Edwards test mission continues to grow. 

For more information about the combat information transport system, call 277-2213.