Reporter: Maurice McDowell
SA Electronics Companies Profile: C2I2 Systems
C2I2 Systems (C2I2) was registered in 1990 and the founding and current
MD is Richard Young, a highly qualified engineer with a PhD. This company is
focused on the development of realtime systems, including data communication.
Markets currently addressed are mainly military and include naval, avionics and
C2I2 (www.ccii.co.za) is growing dynamically and is
building on its base of expertise and experience by ensuring that all technical
employees are graduate engineers. Together with its capabilities in software
engineering and system integration, C2I2 is well placed to provide effective
solutions to any organisation's information engineering requirements (this
includes commercial industrial companies).
C2I2 was one of two companies
competing to supply the combat suite *1 for the new
SA Navy corvettes. It also appeared that it was the
preferred bidder as Armscor itself had provided funding for the
development of some of the systems required for this application. In the event
the contract was awarded to its competitor, ADS, but a lot
of political controversy surrounds this decision. What is relevant for
this article is that at one stage (2003) the C2I2 solution was referred to as a
technology demonstrator and carried too much risk.
This is not borne out by the facts presented below as
the company is selling some of these products to Raytheon in the US. It is my
personal opinion that any local company that can sell high-tech products to the
great USA, particularly in the defence market, must be operating at the cutting edge of that technology and thus
the efforts and technology of C2I2 must be applauded.
The website of C2I2
is very full of data and press releases, but it appears that the US story started about 2001 *2 when the
conduction-cooled high-speed aerial I/O PMC adaptors from C2I2 were selected for
use in the US Army's air defence radar system. More significantly, in the same
year the FDDI PCI, PMC and CC PMC adaptor boards were selected by Raytheon for
use in the US and German Navy's rolling airframe missile (RAM) surface to air
launch system. The other important event for 2003 was when Raytheon selected the
C2I2 FDDI PMC adaptor board for application in its ship self-defence system
(SSDS) Mk 2 and its upgrades. Note that Raytheon unveiled the 150th RAM guided
missile launching system in August 2004 (Good business for C2I2!).
During 2003 the US decided that all of the Nimitz-Class aircraft
carriers would be equipped with the SSDS system with the in-build USS Ronald
Reagan being the test vessel. During 2003 Raytheon completed the development and
functional qualification testing of the SSDS Mk2 Mod1 for the Ronald Reagan and
later that year it was awarded a contract to supply the Navy with five new SSDS
systems. Three of these would be land-based for training, one would be used on
the Reagan and one would be evaluated for use on the new in-construction
amphibious assault vessels.
It should be noted that the SSDS is largely
based on COTS (commercial off the shelf) technology and the long term view is
that it will be retrofitted to all vessels in the fleet with the exception of
the AEGIS-Class ships. The USS George Bush is the next aircraft carrier to be
built and will be the most advanced of the class, acting as a bridge between the
Nimitz class and the next generation of carriers. The American press is quoted
as saying that ship is seen as revolutionary by the US Navy, largely because of
the electronic systems sourced from C2I2 and a former Pietermaritzburg man,
namely Richard Young.
The new amphibious assault craft (12 in total)
were earmarked for the SSDS as long ago as 1995. The San Antonio Class are a
major addition to the US fleet and the SSDS was selected because the heart of
the ship's defence capability is quick reaction. They are also the first US
Naval vessels to be equipped with a fibre-optics-based shipboard wide area
network (SWAN), and they will also use the RAM missile for which C2I2 is also
supplying components as described above. In a report dated 2003 it was noted
that the existing amphibious assault vessels (Whidbey Island and Wasp Classes)
would also be fitted with the SSDS.
In fact, regarding SWAN, much of the
success of C2I2 can be attributed to the early adoption of FDDI (fibre
distributed data interface) technology, which is just now being implemented by
the US Navy and hence the sales of the FDDI PMC cards. Although the current
ideal networking technology would be asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), this is a
long way from maturity. Richard Young strongly believes that FDDI will remain a
feature of major ship-borne networks for years to come.
All of this
appears to be good business for C2I2. The company was not however completely
excluded from the local arms deal as in 2001 it received a contract for the adaptation of the software for the ISUS 90 combat
measuring system for the SA Navy's U-209 submarines *3. Other products
developed by C2I2 amongst many others, include a universal tracking platform
(UTP), a helicopter take off and landing system (HTLS), a tracker radar console
(TRC), a search radar console (SRC), a signal concentrator unit (ICCU), a
realtime weather watch (RTWW) and a realtime surveillance watch
The UTP provides an integrated solution for monitoring and
reporting the geographic position, movement parameters and internal health of a
vehicle. The HTLS assists in the take-off; landing and flying of ship-borne
helicopters by measuring and displaying weather conditions and the ship's motion
data (will Armscor buy it for the Lynx helicopters?) The TRC provides a
sophisticated, geographically-oriented, human-machine
interface for optronics and radar trackers (as used on the corvettes).
The SRC is a control and display console for a 3-D naval search radar tracker
incorporating primary search radar, missile control radar and air control
Moving on to the ICCS, it is a hierarchy of IT elements
integrated so as to supply commanders and battle troops with command and control
data and information to support joint operations in the 21st Century digital
battle space. The RTSW provides realtime surveillance of remote sites on an
interactive website. Digital cameras capture high resolution images that are
displayed on web pages allowing www clients to view these sites. The RTTW
provides realtime weather information from a number of remote sites on an
interactive web page. Weather trends are displayed allowing clients to monitor
and predict weather patterns. A digital camera captures high-resolution images
which are displayed on a web page allowing www clients to view the selected site
and weather patterns.
The above is a summary of about a third of the
products developed by C2I2 for realtime applications. Many of these developed
products would have been appropriate for the corvettes.
In the beginning,
with its focus on realtime information (Young's PhD thesis was on realtime
mission-critical protocols) C2I2 started out to develop a series of board level
products, including PMC adaptors, PCI adaptors, PC 104 Plus adaptors and
converters. One of these products was the much-mentioned FDDI PCI adaptors, the
company being at the forefront worldwide in the adoption of FDDI technology.
The FDDI (fibre distributed data base) PCI adaptor provides
dual-redundant 100 Mbps communications links signalling over multimode fibre and
is ideally suited to realtime data communication applications. The adaptor is
available in air-cooled versions in either commercial or ruggedised (-40 to
85°C) packaging. Whereas the FDDI PCI features VxWorks software drivers, the
newer FDDI PC104 Plus adaptor features additional software drivers, including
Linux, Solaris, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 2003 as standard, as well
as a wide range of compatible and qualified third party software drivers. Both
adaptors use the AMD Supernet 3 chipset which offers advanced features such as
synchronous bandwidth allocation (SBA) and end station support (ESS).
Having studied the capabilities of C2I2, there is no
doubt in my mind that it could, together with its partner companies, have
developed a truly state-of-the-art combat suite for the local corvettes.
Not knowing what C2I2 actually offered, but if it was an FDDI solution then the
combat suite would have been on par with what the US Navy is just
With acknowledgement to Maurice McDowell and Dataweek.
*1 Actually the Information
Management System (IMS) and System Management System (SMS) of the combat
*2 Actually in about
*3 Also prematurely terminated with an
actual contract value of US$1 million after being determined as having an
initial contract value of US$5 million and a total programme DIP value of some
And this was not terminated by STN Atlas due to failure by
C²I² Systems. This was straight interference.
article was written entirely independently by Dr Maurice McDowell, Dataweek's
specialist technical author.
No input whatsoever from C²I² Systems was
provided, other than Dr McDowell's independent access to the company public
domain website at URL :
If an entirely unbriefed technical specialist can
independently and objectively come to these conclusions, an expert witness for
the plaintiff is likely to make the plaintiff's days in court in a damages
action a rather pleasing experience.