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Feb 4 2021

Agency awards Firefly contract for deployable communications and information systems


The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency has awarded the Firefly contract to Thales valued at 42 million EUR for deployable communications and information systems (DCIS).


The new Firefly system will support the NATO Response Force's (NRF) communication needs when deployed, including the need to communicate with headquarters of NATO's operational Commands. This project in particular will support the NRF's small and medium Headquarters.

Agency awards Firefly contract for deployable communications and information systems

"This flagship project will provide mission-critical services via modern deployable technology to the NRF, which could be asked to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice," said Satinder Sandhu, Principal Project Manager at the NCI Agency. "Other similar follow-on projects will build on this flagship project's capabilities and services."

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

The contract was awarded on 20 December 2020 after a rigorous bid evaluation process.

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 services 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 an 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 (ICT) services to the soldier through a deployable Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and NATO data centres. It also has an autonomous mode, which can operate without connectivity to the centralized services. Read more about the continuing DCIS Cube effort here.

"This project will leverage the DCIS Cube architecture work to significantly reduce deployment times," Sandhu said.

For more information, read the Fact Sheet on Firefly.