SAN DIEGO (NNS) –Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) worked directly with the fleet to increase the speed at which new and emerging technologies are put into the hands of the warfighter during Trident Warrior 2018 (TW18) June 18 through July 31.
In its 16th year of execution directed by SPAWAR, Trident Warrior is an annual large-scale, at-sea field experiment where the Navy identifies warfighting capability gaps and provide innovative solutions in an operational environment.
SPAWAR scientists and engineers joined multiple Navy organizations at TW18, to work alongside Sailors during experimentations of more than 28 key maritime initiatives, focused on the rapid development and deployment of new capabilities and innovative technologies to aid maritime forces in key domains of warfare – air, land, sea and cyber.
“Our Navy and our nation are experiencing an unprecedented degree of competition in the maritime environment,” said SPAWAR Commander Rear Adm. Christian Becker. “Trident Warrior is one effort to increase the pace of technology delivery, ensuring U.S. interests are protected around the world, and allowing us the ability to compete and win today, tomorrow and in coming decades.”
During the event, SPAWAR experimented with a variety of technologies, including warfare systems, cybersecurity capabilities, and network and communication capabilities.
The Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I) led a command and control experimentation effort conducting four sets of tests, one of which included testing a new suite of artificial intelligence technologies. Directed toward supporting the Composite Warfare Commanders and the Tactical Flag Command and Control watch floor, the test provides assessment and prediction tools to evaluate the operational environment in real time.
Additionally, SPAWAR executed the CyberSafe initiative, where multiple organizations conducted experimentation scenarios using integrated forces afloat, aloft and ashore. The experiment’s purpose was to evaluate tactics, techniques and procedures designed to provide the fleet with enhanced cyber resiliency during a cyber-attack.
“We conducted more than 30 hours of testing over six days with approximately 80 observation logs collected,” said Richard Weiss, Trident Warrior focus area lead for CyberSafe. “The experiment successfully assessed a network conditions construct for use as a warfighting tool to enable all levels of naval forces to protect designated mission capabilities and respond to compromised mission systems.”
SPAWAR also worked alongside Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory during the testing of Light Fidelity (Li-Fi), a next generation secure mobile networking technology that transmits data over commercial light-emitting diode lighting infrastructure that creates Li-Fi hotspots for internet/intranet network connectivity that is identical to Wi-Fi.
“Li-Fi testing was conducted aboard USS Carl Vinson,” said Mark Steers, Trident Warrior focus area lead for Li-Fi. “Over the course of three days of flight ops with over 100 recoveries and catapult launches, the experiment determined the operational impact of real flight operations. The test concluded that despite the significant shock, vibration and noise of the flight operations occurring on the flight deck above, there was no measurable negative impact on the wireless communication link.”
Experiments were conducted on board and in coordination with more than 20 Navy platforms including USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), USS Dewey (DDG 105), USS Sterett (DDG 104), USS Halsey (DDG 97) and the experimental medium-displacement unmanned surface vehicle (MDUSV), known as Sea Hunter.
“It is paramount to never lose sight of who our customer is at the end of the day, and that is the fleet.” said Daniel Hallock, Trident Warrior deputy director. “We shouldn’t do development in a bubble. Our research and development efforts need to be exposed to the end users early and often to ensure we’re providing relevant technologies and solutions.”
TW18 participants included organizations such as SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific, PEO C4I, Naval Air Systems Command, Naval Sea Systems Command, the Naval Research Laboratory and the Office of Naval Research.
“Trident Warrior is a command agnostic event,” said Cdr. Ed DeWinter, TW18 director and Navy Warfare Development Command liaison to Commander, U.S. Third Fleet. “We want the best practices and technologies available to assist the warfighter regardless of government origin. We cast a wide net encompassing all science and technology organizations within the Navy, the Department of Defense and with our coalition partners.”
Additionally, the SPAWAR Reserve Program had a number of reservists providing their expertise to support the event.
“Trident Warrior puts emerging technologies and doctrine in the hands of the fleet for evaluation in an operational environment,” said Lt. Constantine Farah, a SPAWAR reservist supporting TW18. “During testing of these technologies, SPAWAR reservists were able to provide relevant skills and insight to enhance Navy cyber warfare capabilities from seabed to space."
TW18 was conducted in and around the Hawaiian Islands and off the coast of Southern California, in conjunction with the Rim of the Pacific. RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise that helps participating nations foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans.
“It is fiscally prudent to incorporate Trident Warrior experimentation into the RIMPAC,” said Capt. Chris Sund, experimentation and innovation director, Commander U.S. Third Fleet. “By conducting experimentation concurrently with RIMPAC, the Navy doesn’t incur additional costs associated with scheduling assets and forces for the sole purpose of experimentation.”
Next year’s event is scheduled for July-August, 2019 off the coast of Southern California. Participants will take what they learned this year and apply it to new developments and experiments in an effort to speed the development and deployment of warfighting technologies.
SPAWAR identifies, develops, delivers and sustains information warfighting capabilities supporting naval, joint, coalition and other national missions. SPAWAR consists of more than 10,000 active duty military and civil service professionals located around the world and close to the fleet to keep SPAWAR at the forefront of research, engineering and acquisition to provide and sustain information warfare capabilities to the fleet.
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