Airbus to provide E-NPKI system for secure communications

The NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency has awarded Airbus the Enterprise NATO Public Key Infrastructure (E-NPKI) contract to design, implement and deliver a new framework of services for the management of public key certificates. The purpose is to improve secure communications among NATO organizations as well as between NATO and other organizations and countries.

The new E-NPKI system will provide accredited certificate services on NATO networks up to secret level. Full service support including a test facility and training will take place across more than 70 NATO sites. The contract includes setting up a dedicated E-NPKI Service Desk that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It will ensure system availability, incident and configuration management as well as certificate and digital identity card management.

The capability delivered through this three-year firm fixed price contract will be incorporated into NCIA’s service catalogue and will enable NATO nations to procure the NATO approved service. 

The purpose of a public key infrastructure (PKI) is to facilitate the secure electronic transfer of information between people and entities, utilizing techniques of asymmetric cryptography. It enables security services, such as confidentiality, integrity, non repudiation, and authentication, by applying rigid processes of registration and issuance of digital certificates that bind public keys with respective identities of entities such as: people, services, devices and organizations.

An effective PKI is a combination of hardware and software products along with policies and procedures able to manage the life cycle of digital certificates including creation, storage, distribution, and revocation.

The E-NPKI project, together with the IT Modernization Project and the NATO Communications Infrastructure Project, are part of the wider IT modernization program named Polaris, which aims to transform NATO's static IT infrastructure into a homogeneous enterprise.

Airbus was awarded the NATO Communications Infrastructure Project few months ago. This new contract strengthens Airbus’s position as a NATO supplier for communication systems and services.