Eight months after landing the UK Ministry of Defence’s Oasis System 3 contract for 100 shore-based Unix systems, the same consortium has won the next phase for an additional 60 systems on board Royal Navy fighting ships (CI No 861). Systems Designers Plc of Fleet in Hampshire, which is to acquire Scicon Ltd shortly, was awarded the UKP11.5m contract by the Government’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency this month: it will provide project support and management to the Royal Navy’s 100-strong Oasis programming team in Portsmouth. Principal sub contractor is Gould Computer Systems, which will supply ruggedised versions of its PN6000 supermicros, codenamed Sabre, over the next five years. Also involved is Spider Systems Ltd of Edinburgh, which will contribute to the Navy’s first deployment of Ethernet-based TCP/IP local area networking on ships and submarines, allowing for future hardware expansion without re wiring. Software specified included the Ingres database and Ace Microsystems’ Lex word processor. The systems will replace existing DEC PDP-11s on aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates and submarines, eventually taking over all afloat administrative tasks, and will be installed on all new ships. Main competition for the tender is believed to have come from British Telecom and NCR; whilst DEC, understood to have been precluded from Oasis System 3 because of its inability to offer a System V Interface Definition-compatible version of Unix, was not an active bidder this time.
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