The largest technology tender in the history of the defense establishment, which will consolidate dozens of IDF data centers at an investment of NIS 1 billion, is getting underway. The Ministry of Defense will publish a tender tomorrow calling for bids from Israeli companies. One of the companies will be selected to lead the complex program as chief contractor. Under the plan, the winning company will contract with a foreign company, which will be a partner in the venture. In the project, dozens of IDF data centers will be consolidated into several state-of-the-art computer centers serving all IDF units.
Seven leading groups and companies are expected to compete in the tender: Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1), Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT), Motorola Israel, Rad-Bynet Group, Bezeq International Ltd., ECI Telecom Ltd., and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., which is bidding as part of a group that includes EMC and IBM.
It is believed that the franchise holder will be selected six months from now, and construction of the first of the computer centers in Israel for the IDF's use in the coming decades will take place in 2018. The Ministry of Defense today declined to specify the number of the new computer centers and the places in which they would be built, but professional sources said told reporters that the new centers would be deployed throughout Israel.
One center every two years
The Ministry of Defense today said that due to the secrecy and complexity of the venture, only Israeli companies would be allowed to take part, with foreign companies serving as subcontractors. This will provide hundreds of jobs throughout Israel, both during the years in which the new centers are under construction and in maintenance and operations in the ensuing years. When construction of the centers is completed, the franchise holder that built them will operate them for 10 years, with an option for a seven-year extension. One new center will be opened every two years.
The tender documents cover 1,500 pages, and dozens of content specialists from all IDF branches spent months writing them. Simultaneously with the formulation of the complex tender, the leaders of the program held many meetings to exchange know-how with all the Israeli technology companies slated to bid in the tender. In addition, the Ministry of Defense hired the services of a foreign company that formerly provide consultant services to the US Army in a similar project for the construction of a computer center in an Asian country.
The Ministry of Defense today said that tenders such as the one scheduled in Israel tomorrow were published in the rest of the world only once every two years. "The tender provides many opportunities for Israeli defense industries and high tech companies for many years ahead," said Ministry of Defense Production and Procurement Directorate head Brigadier-General (res.) Shmuel Zucker. "We insisted that only Israeli IT companies be allowed to bid in order to ensure that the know-how and estimated hundreds of millions of shekels in the project will remain in Israel, and provide many jobs."
The Ministry of Defense added that the new data centers would constitute a platform for all IDF branches - air force, navy, infantry, and intelligence - and would contain all the technological elements necessary for the core IDF facilities. The Ministry of Defense also said that these centers would facilitate planning and operational standardization among all units, while maintaining technological innovation and flexibility in line with future global trends, thereby accommodating the expected future changes in this field.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 22, 2016
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