There is an age-old adage that says “All roads lead to Rome” — but for the Navy — all roads lead to information dominance.
U.S. Navy policy documents, such as the Navy Information Dominance Roadmap 2013-2028, the Chief of Naval Operations’ Navigation Plan 2014-2018, which places heavy emphasis on information dominance technologies, and Navy Cyber Power 2020, all affirm that Navy strategy and investments are focused on achieving advanced capabilities to maneuver freely in future high-threat, information-intensive environments in all domains.
Navy information dominance is defined “as the operational advantage gained from fully integrating Navy’s information capabilities, systems and resources to optimize decision making and maximize warfighting effects in the complex maritime environment of the 21st century.”
The Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (OPNAV N2/N6) is leading the Navy effort to ensure the right investments are made to operate in an increasingly uncertain world order with threats rising from rogue military powers to non-state actors, and greater access by lawless individuals and small groups to lethal weapons, sensors and other technologies that previously were available only to nation-states.
The Navy Strategy for Achieving Information Dominance frames the approach and guides the development of information capabilities and their integration into the fleet. It reinforces the consolidation of information-related programs, resources and manpower under a single OPNAV sponsor, and accelerates the work accomplished over the last three years to integrate information dominance into the Navy as a core warfighting competency. Finally, it augments the Navy’s efforts to master the cyberspace domain and the electromagnetic spectrum, just as the Navy has mastered the physical domains of the maritime battlespace.
The Strategy for Information Dominance states that the essential access challenge for U.S. military forces will be the ability to project force into a contested operational area, and to sustain it in the face of armed opposition by increasingly capable enemies equipped with sophisticated anti-access and area-denial (A2/AD) defenses.
To assure the Navy’s continuing information dominance over adversaries, the strategy focuses on the three fundamental Information Dominance capabilities of Assured Command and Control, Battlespace Awareness, and Integrated Fires, and asserts the following major goals for the 2013–2017 timeframe:
- Strong and Secure Navy Command and Control;
- Persistent, Predictive Battlespace Awareness;
- Integrated Combat Information;
- Integrated Kinetic and Non-kinetic Fires; and
- Information Dominance as a Warfighting Discipline.
The electromagnetic spectrum is the underlying force that operationalizes the capabilities associated with information dominance. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert has emphasized the convergence between traditional electronic warfare — long a robust Navy capability — and the new cyberspace domain. The CNO has said that cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum must be viewed as a single domain of warfare on par with land, sea, air, and space. Wireless routers or satellites are now part of almost every computer network so cyberspace and the EM spectrum now form one continuous environment to employ for warfighting advantage. CNO recently designated “Electromagnetic Spectrum Maneuver Warfare (EMMW)” as one of his four areas of focus for 2014.
EMMW is an operational approach to seizing the initiative across the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS). The goal is to combine EMMW capabilities in the sea, air and land domains to generate enhanced combat effects. EMMW, in essence, means leveraging the cyberspace domain and the full electromagnetic spectrum for both offensive and defensive effects.
EMMW is not a program, or system, or even a refined concept of operations. It is an emerging operational art, one we must master to fully understand the battlespace. The Navy must then use that awareness to better employ friendly forces while altering the enemy’s perception of the battlespace and minimizing his freedom of maneuver within it.
The initial focus on mastering EMMW has been on the cyberspace mission area, putting in place the required manpower structure and creating the necessary organizational constructs. That effort continues, but the focus is broadening to include the entirety of the EMS. Moreover, Navy is building on the work undertaken in the last several years to improve its electronic warfare systems in the face of sophisticated anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) threats.
To ensure its information dominance edge, the Navy is employing a comprehensive portfolio of investments in aircraft, surface ships, submarines, satellites, electromagnetic and cyber capabilities, unmanned vehicles in the air and water, and fixed and portable sensors. The Information Dominance Roadmap has outlined the innovative technologies needed to assure the Navy remains unchallenged in an uncertain world. In alignment with advanced technologies, the Navy will integrate information dominance tenets and cyber into fleet operations.
The following is just a sampling of the advanced information dominance capabilities that are now integrated into the fleet and those that will be available in the near term, as well as those that will be fielded in the next 10 to 15 years.
Naval commanders must be able to exercise authority over assigned and attached Navy and joint forces to ensure success across the range of military operations and warfighting scenarios. Continued improvement in the speed and sophistication of modern information technology is greatly increasing the capability of naval forces to coordinate action across disparate sea, land, air, space, and cyberspace systems. For the U.S. Navy, such advancements have already provided commanders afloat with more time to consider and make timely decisions, providing tremendous improvements in offensive capability.
The Navy will begin to install limited EM spectrum controls to ensure the transport infrastructure delivers reliable high-bandwidth connections to naval platforms, enabling a number of warfighting applications. Fleet commanders at maritime operations center (MOC) level can establish and share a basic maritime operational picture that is periodically updated, and employs limited COP tools to assist planning and execution decision making. Several data interfaces will exist between Navy combat systems and C2 networks. Looking ahead to 2028, the Navy will require assured EM access with the ability to field increased numbers of line of sight communication systems for tactical operations for communications, electronic warfare and navigation radars. Other requirements include:
- A dynamic flexible information grid to ensure that every node, platform, sensor and weapon system can connect to and extend the grid.
- Assured positioning, timing and navigation services as an alternative to GPS.
- Enhanced data link networks and targeting networks, self-healing and aware network systems.
- Smart sensor systems.
Positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) is a key component of information dominance, particularly in attaining and sustaining battlespace awareness and assured command and control. PNT provides position and precise time references to surface, subsurface, air and space-borne assets, enabling safety of navigation, communications and assured command.
The Electronic Chart Display and Information System – Navy (ECDIS-N) paved the way for the Navy transition from paper charts to state-of-the-art electronic navigation systems in 2001. ECDIS-N combines software and hardware that digitally displays navigation charts overlaid with automated, continuous positioning data, as well as data from ancillary equipment supporting navigation, such as radar, environmental sensors, ship performance parameters and the Automated Identification System. The result is an official, digital navigation plot with enhanced situational awareness tools that facilitate safety of navigation.
Currently, about 78 percent of the surface force and 82 percent of the submarine force is navigating electronically. With the exception of those units scheduled for decommissioning, the remainder of the fleet is scheduled for ECDIS-N certification by the end of FY16. ECDIS-N uses the Digital Nautical Chart (DNC) library, which is produced by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). DNC is a digital database supported by a portfolio of approximately 5,000 nautical charts covering the maritime domain worldwide.
Precise Time and the Global Positioning System (GPS). Precise and synchronized time is critical for a wide array of services. These include accurate navigation and positioning, the alignment and transfer of digital data across the Internet, and the synchronization of distributed computer networks, communications systems, high-speed financial brokerage and trading networks, and large regional electric power grids.
For the U.S. military, precise timing translates to safer navigation, more accurate unit positioning, putting ordnance on target while minimizing collateral damage, and ensuring the security and bandwidth of communications systems and command and control networks. To make this a reality, time must be known and transferred at the nanosecond level (a nanosecond is one billionth of a second).
The U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO) in Washington, D.C., is responsible for maintaining precise time and making it available to Defense Department users. USNO's real-time realization of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is the DoD standard for Precise Time and Time Interval (PTTI), and is the primary time reference for GPS and other military applications.
The precision of the USNO's Master Clock (MC) makes it a popular reference choice for the Internet's Network Time Protocol (an Internet standard that facilitates the transfer of digital data). The MC is a major contributor to determining the international definition of UTC, which is the primary international civil time reference. USNO's Master Clock employs dozens of independent, free-running atomic clocks to ensure accuracy.
The current Master Clock, incorporating the ultra-precision Navy Rubidium Fountain Clock system, has been designed especially for the next-generation GPS III program which will require precision to a fraction of a nanosecond. A major component of the modernization process, a new military signal called M-code was designed to further improve the anti-jamming and secure access of military GPS signals. As DoD's official timekeeper, the USNO Master Clock is operational 24/7 and is the most precise operational clock system in the world.
Consolidated Afloat Network Enterprise Services is the consolidation and enhancement of the requirements for five legacy network programs as well as a single support framework for all C4I applications that currently require dedicated infrastructure to operate delivered and managed legacy systems. CANES takes advantage of the new business model of open architecture, service oriented architecture and rapid COTS insertion, reducing the Navy's total ownership costs while increasing operational agility for the fleet and warfighter.
The Navy announced in November that it successfully installed the first operational next generation tactical afloat network aboard the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell which was completed in October 2013. CANES installations are at various stages aboard seven guided missile destroyers, two carriers and one amphibious assault ship. The network will be deployed to more than 190 ships, submarines and Maritime Operations Centers (MOC) by 2021.
The Next Generation Enterprise Network, the follow on to the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), will continue to provide secure, net-centric data and services for the Navy and Marine Corps. NGEN ensures an enterprise-wide approach for the seamless command and control, oversight, responsibility, and accountability of the DON's network ashore. NGEN shall remain the foundation for Department of the Navy network consolidation, and will be fully aligned with and able to leverage the services provisioned by the Defense Department's Joint Information Environment (JIE).
Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Satellite Communications
The Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) will provide Joint forces greater mobility, higher data rates and increased availability worldwide. That Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Satellite Communications (SATCOM) constellation will give its users 10 times more voice and data capacity while leveraging 3G mobile technology.
The first satellite, MUOS-1, was launched in February 2012 and began providing legacy UHF SATCOM services in November 2012. MUOS-2 was launched on July 19, 2013. Three more satellites will launch by 2016, enabling MUOS will to achieve full operational capability in 2017 and extending narrowband availability past 2025. MUOS provides secure, tactical connectivity, a key element of Navy's information dominance vision.
Enhanced Data Link Networks will improve data speed, capacity, reach and reliability so that platforms, sensors, weapons and systems can seamlessly exchange combat data and information via machine-to-machine interfaces. Such advanced capabilities involve: dynamic mesh networks that provide speed and capacity not available with the current Link-16 system; advanced tactical targeting network technology that integrate the E-2D with other airborne platforms and surface/subsurface sensors to increase the capability to track and engage targets in dense threat environments; advanced TDL waveforms that will improve track capacity and enhance other performance characteristics; new tactical data links extending to the undersea environment; new low probability of intercept (LPI) and low probability of detection (LPD) acoustic links that enable low data rate, long-range communication between undersea platforms in clandestine operations; improved sensitivity of gyroscopes and inertial systems to accurately capture attitude and orientation in three dimensions and enable improved stellar/celestial navigation capabilities.
Battlespace Awareness (BA) is the ability to understand the disposition and intentions of potential adversaries as well as the characteristics and conditions of the operational environment. This knowledge impacts Navy and joint planning, operations and decision making at the strategic, operational, or tactical level. The Navy’s operational environment spans all domains, maritime, air, land, space and cyberspace, and all frequencies across the EM spectrum.
The new generation of naval aircraft and ships are designed with advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike capabilities.
P-8A Poseidon will replace the P-3C Orion as a long-range anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) maritime patrol aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations. In July, the Navy received nine P-8A aircraft, which fleet operators are currently conducting training on, flying, and preparing for the aircraft’s first-ever operational deployment.
On July 5, completing only one practice dry run, a P-8A Poseidon from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 successfully fired a Harpoon AGM-84D Block IC missile from station 10 on the first hot run, which was later confirmed by onsite explosive ordnance disposal personnel. The P-8A Poseidon achieved initial operational capability after the first two P-8A Poseidons departed for deployment Nov. 29. According to the CNO, the P-8A has exceeded Navy expectations in its ability to find and track submarines. Until transition to the P-8 is complete in 2019, P-3C Orion and EP-3 Aries II squadrons will augment this first P-8 deployment to fulfill global maritime patrol and reconnaissance force requirements.
The unblinking eye of unmanned systems provides persistent surveillance of the maritime and information battlespace with penetrating knowledge of the capabilities and intent of adversaries. When synchronized, unmanned systems and sensors provide target acquisition and targeting solutions.
The X-47B (AV-2) conducted the 100th flight for the Navy's Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) program Patuxent River, Md., Sept. 18. The Navy UCAS program successfully completed all objectives for the carrier demonstration phase with the X-47B in July. During three at-sea periods over eight months, the X-47B conducted a total of 16 precision approaches to the carrier flight deck, including five planned tests of X-47B wave-off functions, nine touch-and-go landings, two arrested landings and three catapult launches. In November, the X-47B conducted flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).
This series of carrier-based tests, demonstrated the integration of the latest in naval aviation technology with the most advanced and capable carrier. The program has also begun surrogate Learjet testing of the autonomous aerial refueling (AAR) capability, which promises to significantly increase the endurance and range of carrier-based unmanned aircraft. The UCLASS vehicle, to be operational by 2018 to 2020, promises to bring an as-of-yet unprecedented capability to the Navy by delivering a large, next-generation unmanned aircraft with a large wingspan and high-tech sensors to the deck of an aircraft carrier.
The MQ-4C Triton, formerly known as BAMS UAS, Triton will provide combat information to operational and tactical users such as the expeditionary strike group carrier strike group and the joint forces maritime component commander. Triton will be a forward deployed, land-based, autonomously operated system that provides a persistent maritime ISR capability using a multi-sensor mission payload (maritime radar, Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR), Electronic Support Measures (ESM), Automatic Identification System (AIS) and basic communications relay).
The Triton’s new features include the AN/ZPY-3 multi-function active-sensor (MFAS) radar system, the primary sensor on the Triton. The MFAS completed first flight in December aboard a Gulfstream aircraft. With the MFAS radar’s capabilities, the Triton will be able to cover more than 2.7 million square miles in a single mission. As an adjunct to the manned P-8A Poseidon, the MQ-4C Triton will be a major part of the military's surveillance strategy for the Asia and Pacific regions. The Triton will fly missions for 24 hours at altitudes greater than 10 miles, allowing the system to monitor 2,000 nautical miles of ocean and littoral areas at a time. BAMS-D surpassed 10,000 flight hours in December 2013 in support of operations in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility.
Ocean Battlespace Sensors and underwater unmanned vehicles counter the proliferation of A2/A2 capacity and capabilities among potential adversaries. The complexity of the littoral battlespace and changing environmental conditions, such as the increased open water in the Arctic Ocean, demands advanced high-resolution environmental observation and prediction capabilities. Sensors and UUVs provide rapid detection and clearing of mines and can detect, classify, locate and track threat submarines in shallow and deep water, exploiting automation and adaptation to the environment.
The Naval Oceanographic Office is currently using unmanned and autonomous vehicles to efficiently collect data at less cost. NAVO’s unmanned underwater vehicles are buoyancy-driven Slocum gliders used for persistent data collection in support of anti-submarine warfare and mine warfare missions. Its autonomous unmanned vehicles, based on the REMUS 600 model, are primarily used for ocean bottom mapping in shallow water areas.
Advanced algorithms and techniques for data processing and fusion, analysis, prediction, and production provide the ability to integrate, evaluate and interpret knowledge and information from available sources to develop more predictive intelligence and forecast the future states of the physical and virtual environments to enable situational awareness and provide actionable information. While information dissemination and management provide the ability to present and make available intelligence, information, and environmental content that facilitates understanding of the operating environment by military and national decision-makers.
Littoral Combat Ship is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. The LCS class is designed to defeat threats in coastal waters where increasingly capable submarines, mines, and swarming small craft operate. To deliver capabilities against these threats, the Navy introduced LCS with innovative concepts, such as modular mission packages, to quickly respond to an evolving threat. The Navy is planning a 52-ship LCS class and is operating LCS 1 through 4. Twelve more ships (LCS 5 through LCS 16) are currently under construction or in the pre-production phase.
The first 24 ships of the class are evenly comprised of two variants, the steel monohull Freedom variant (odd numbered hulls) and the aluminum trimaran Independence variant (even numbered hulls). The Navy christened its newest littoral combat ship, the future USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) in a ceremony at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard in Marinette, Wis., Dec. 18. The launch and christening of LCS 5, and the recent launch of LCS 6 from the Austal USA shipyard together mark a milestone for the littoral combat ship program. These are the first two littoral combat ships built from start to finish using serial production processes.
Serial production is important because it allows the Navy to reap benefits such as improved cost structure per vessel and reduced construction time. The Navy has incorporated much of the knowledge gained in the build, test and operation of LCS 1 and LCS 2, the lead ships of the class, into follow-on ships.
The Navy's first Joint High Speed Vessel, USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), successfully completed its Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) end-to-end event Oct. 3. The JHSV is a shallow draft, all aluminum, commercial-based Catamaran. Designed to provide transportation in shallow-draft waterways and ports, the JHSV is capable of transporting 600 short tons at least 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. The ship also features a flight deck designed to support helicopter operations and a fast-rescue boat mounted midship on the port side.
The JHSV will enable the rapid projection, agile maneuver, and sustainment of modular, tailored forces in response to a wide range of military and civilian contingencies such as non-combatant evacuation operations, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief. USNS Choctaw County (JHSV 2) completed acceptance trails in May. USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3) successfully launched June 5, 2013 from the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala. and completed acceptance trials, Jan. 10, concluding a week of thorough in-port and at-sea testing for the ship. JHSV Fall River was christened Jan. 11 in a ceremony in Mobile, Ala. The program includes 10 prospective ships in the JHSV class.
The Mobile Landing Platform class of modular, flexible ships belongs to Military Sealift Command's Maritime Prepositioning Force as a mobile sea-base option that provides the Navy fleet with critical afloat capability, supporting the flexible deployment of forces and supplies. Designed to increase inter-theater agility, the MLP supports warfighters by leveraging float-on/float-off technology and a reconfigurable mission deck to maximize capability.
The MLP provides a seagoing pier when access to on-shore bases and support are unavailable. The platform includes add-on modules that support a vehicle staging area, vehicle transfer ramp, large mooring fenders and up to three landing craft, air cushioned vessel lanes to enhance its core requirements. Montford Point is the Navy's first mobile landing platform, delivered to the Navy in San Diego May 14, and is expected to be fully operational in fiscal year 2015.The Navy's second MLP, John Glenn, successfully completed Builder's Sea Trials Jan. 13 with delivery expected in March 2014.
Virginia-class submarines are built to dominate the world’s littoral and deep waters, while conducting anti-submarine; anti-surface ship; strike; special operation forces; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, firepower, and sensor suite directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities — sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.
USS Minnesota (SSN 783) completed a two-day transit Jan. 10 from Norfolk, Va., to its new permanent homeport at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn. In November 2013, Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) North Dakota (SSN 784) was christened. Additionally, PCU John Warner (SSN 785) had its keel laying ceremony in March; the same month construction began on PCU South Dakota (SSN 790). Construction on PCU Delaware (SSN 791), the last Block III Virginia-class boat, began Sept. 2.
Lastly, the program is now negotiating what will be the largest shipbuilding contract in terms of dollar amount in the Navy’s history. The Block IV contract will be a 10-ship, five-year, fixed-price contract which will see two ships per year built between fiscal years 2014 and 2018. Minnesota is the 10th submarine of the Virginia-class and the last under the second, or Block II, contract.
Arleigh Burke destroyers and their embarked MH-60R helicopters are an unbeatable team. The DDG 51 class guided missile destroyers provide a wide range of warfighting capabilities in multi-threat air, surface and subsurface environments. These ships respond to Low Intensity Conflict/Coastal and Littoral Offshore Warfare (LIC/CALOW) scenarios as well as open-ocean conflict independently or as units of CSGs, ESGs and missile defense action groups. DDG 51 class destroyers are equipped with the Navy’s Aegis Combat System, the world’s foremost integrated naval weapon system.
A DDG modernization program is underway to provide a comprehensive mid-life upgrade that will ensure the DDG 51 class will maintain mission relevance and remain an integral part of the Navy’s Sea Power 21 Plan. The modernization changes are also being introduced to new construction ships to increase the baseline capabilities of the newest ships in the class, and to provide commonality between new construction ships and modernized in-service ships. In June the Navy awarded two contracts for the DDG 51 FY 2013-2017 multiyear procurement for DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The multiyear procurement awards are for a total of nine ships, with an option for a tenth ship.
Zumwalt-class destroyers have a wave-piercing Tumblehome ship design that provides a wide array of advancements including enhanced stealth and survivability. The composite superstructure significantly reduces cross section and acoustic output that makes the ship less transparent to enemies at sea. The design also allows for optimal manning with a standard crew of 148 Sailors, thereby decreasing lifecycle operations and support costs. The Navy intends to procure three Zumwalt Class Destroyers which are named in honor of former Chief of Naval Operations, Elmo R. “Bud” Zumwalt Jr. DDG 1000 will employ active and passive sensors and a Multi-Function Radar (MFR) capable of conducting area air surveillance, including over-land, throughout the extremely difficult and cluttered sea-land interface.
Each ship features a battery of two Advanced Gun Systems (AGS) firing Long-Range Land Attack Projectiles (LRLAP) that reach up to 63 nautical miles, providing a three-fold range improvement in naval surface fires coverage. DDG 1001 was named Michael Monsoor, honoring Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, a Navy SEAL who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Ramadi, Iraq, Sept. 29, 2006. Launch is scheduled for 2014, followed by ship delivery in 2015. Delivery of the DDG 1002 Lyndon B. Johnson to the Navy is expected in FY18.
The new Ford-class aircraft carriers are engineered with the ability to accommodate more carrier-launched unmanned aircraft systems, like the X-47B that landed on the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush in July. The Ford-class carriers are built with a series of technological advances to include a slightly larger flight deck, upgraded nuclear power plants, dual-band radar, improved landing gear and vastly increased on-board electrical capacity to include a new electromagnetic propulsion system for aircraft taking off the deck.
The Ford-class carriers will have four 26 megawatt electrical turbine generators, designed in part to power key systems on the ship, including dual-band phased array radar and the Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System, or EMALS — put on carriers to replace the current steam catapults for aircraft on the flight deck. The PCU Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), now nearing completion, will be followed by the second and third Ford-class carriers, USS John. F. Kennedy (CVN 79) to enter service by 2025 — and USS Enterprise (CVN 80), slated to enter service by 2027.
The Navy currently operates six state-of-the-art T-AGS 60 Pathfinder-class military survey vessels capable of conducting a range of missions from shallow waters to full ocean depths, including high resolution ocean bottom mapping for the creation of nautical charts. The newest addition will be USNS Maury (T-AGS 66), currently under construction with a scheduled launch date in 2014. The new T-AGS 66 will be 24 feet longer than Pathfinder-class ships to accommodate an 18 square foot inboard moon pool. This feature will allow access to the water through the ship’s hull for the deployment and retrieval of unmanned underwater vehicles.
Energy Security is a top priority to enable the power of technological investments and is being achieved through new and innovative efforts designed to improve combat capability. The Navy’s current effort to build hybrid-electric big-deck amphibious assault ships shows how the Navy is employing this strategy. The hybrid-electric propulsion systems produce on-board power for computers and combat systems, electronics and weapons systems such as lasers and the electromagnetic rail gun. Integrated with a mechanical propulsion system to complement it these ships improve fuel economy, add needed power generation and enhanced propulsion reliability.
In the America-class, the USS America (LHA-6) and the USS Tripoli (LHA-7) are engineered with a hybrid-drive propulsion system, meaning the ships can use both diesel electric propulsion as well as gas-turbine engines. The Naval Sea Systems Command’s "Naval Power Systems Technology Development Roadmap," focuses and aligns the investments of the Navy, DoD, and industry with the innovative power need to power the Navy’s high energy weapons and propulsion systems. In concert with the 30-year shipbuilding plan, the roadmap responds to the emerging needs of the Navy to enable advanced weapons and sensors with higher power demands as well as energy security concerns.
Supercomputers were first developed for military applications. These enormously powerful computers perform advanced mathematical computations used for code breaking and intelligence gathering, designing weapons and equipment, and data mining and analytics. The Navy DoD Supercomputing Resource Center (DSRC) is home to three IBM iDataPlex supercomputers with a total theoretical peak performance exceeding 954 teraflops (trillion calculations per second).
This world-class scientific computing environment provides the capability for DoD scientists and engineers to accelerate delivery of new technologies and for the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command to deliver oceanographic products that support the safety, speed and operational effectiveness of the fleet.
The Naval Global Environmental Model (NAVGEM) became fully operational in spring 2013, and today serves as a cutting-edge prediction system for Navy planners who depend on accurate weather conditions. NAVGEM began with support from the Office of Naval Research to the Naval Research Laboratory. NAVGEM, experts say, is one of the most sophisticated computer models in the world. It will give Navy leaders a clearer picture, literally, of what the weather is going to be like across the globe as they deploy the fleet. NAVGEM was supported by PEO C4I — Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence — for advanced development, and ultimately deployment.
Navy IF capabilities are primarily being pursued to: (1) coordinate and synchronize the use of both kinetic and non-kinetic capabilities to achieve desired lethal and non-lethal effects; (2) support all missions and target sets; 3) be applicable in and across all domains (sea, air, land, space and cyberspace); and, (4) be effective across all warfare environments, to include A2/AD scenarios, according to the roadmap. This will require expanding the use of advanced electronic warfare and offensive cyber effects to complement existing and planned air, surface and subsurface kinetic weapons within the battlespace. Future information effects will be designed to impact and change adversary behavior, or when necessary, to control, manipulate, deny, degrade or destroy an enemy’s warfighting capabilities.
EA-18G Growler is a variant of the combat-proven F/A-18F Super Hornet Block II, and will fly the airborne electronic attack mission. The EA-18G’s vast array of sensors and weapons provides the warfighter with a lethal and survivable weapon system to counter current and emerging threats. With its Advanced Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, digital data links and air-to-air missiles, the EA-18G has self-protection capability and is effective for target identification and prosecution.
The first production aircraft was delivered June 3, 2008 to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 129, the Growler Fleet Replacement Squadron, at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. Initial operational capability and full rate production followed in fall 2009. In 2010, three squadrons, VAQ-132, 141 and 138, transitioned from the Prowler to the Growler and were declared safe-for-flight. The Scorpions of VAQ-132 deployed to Iraq as an expeditionary squadron from NAS Whidbey Island, in the fall of 2010. The Shadowhawks of VAQ-141 deployed in the spring of 2011 aboard the USS George H. W. Bush.
The Office of Naval Research’s Electromagnetic (EM) Railgun is a long-range weapon that fires projectiles using electricity instead of chemical propellants. Magnetic fields created by high electrical currents accelerate a sliding metal conductor, or armature, between two rails to launch projectiles at 4,500 mph to 5,600 mph. With its increased velocity and extended range, the EM Railgun will give Sailors a multimission capability, allowing them to conduct precise naval surface fire support, or land strikes; cruise missile and ballistic missile defense; and surface warfare to deter enemy vessels.
Laser Weapon System (LaWS)/. ONR and Naval Sea Systems Command performed demonstrations of high-energy lasers aboard a moving surface combatant ship, as well as against remotely piloted aircraft in early spring 2013. Navy officials announced the deployment of the laser system onboard USS Ponce (AFSB[I] 15) as Navy researchers continue to make significant progress on directed energy weapons, allowing the service to deploy a laser weapon on a Navy ship two years ahead of schedule. The at-sea demonstration in fiscal year 2014 is part of a wider portfolio of near-term Navy directed energy programs that promise rapid fielding, demonstration and prototyping efforts for shipboard, airborne and ground systems.
Lasers complement kinetic weapons to create a layered ship defense capability, providing improved protection against swarming small boats and unmanned aircraft at a fraction of the cost of traditional weapons. The advancing technology gives Sailors a variety of options they never had before, including the ability to control a laser weapon's output and perform actions ranging from non-lethal disabling and deterrence all the way up to destruction.
Information Dominance Corps
The Navy is pursuing improved information-based capabilities that will enable it to prevail in the higher-threat, information-intensive combat environments of the 21st century. According to the roadmap, achieving these advanced capabilities will require leveraging Navy’s intellectual, technological, human and financial resources across the fleet, systems commands and OPNAV Staff.
Since its establishment in 2009, the Navy’s Information Dominance Corps of military and civilian professionals have led the execution of the ID vision in cyber, network operations, operational intelligence, operational oceanography (i.e., shore centers and deployed team support for aviation and maritime safety, hydrography, bathymetry, special warfare operations, mine-warfare, undersea warfare, ASW, ISR, environmental modeling, and precise time and astrometry). IDC members also work in imagery analysis and exploitation, expeditionary warfare, targeting, space, cryptology/SIGINT, and HUMINT. This highly skilled and innovative workforce is the Navy’s most critical ID asset.
The Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (N2/N6) edited and contributed to this article.