Thursday, December 10, 2015

US Navy to Shift to Offensive Capabilities in Development

The Program Executive Office for Integration Combat Systems will release a first-ever 30-Year Combat Power Plan to accompany the 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan in the spring, outlining how the Navy will outfit its platforms and network its sensors to keep up with the threat environment and technological advances.

The 30-year plan will help align various communities in the Navy, as well as industry and lawmakers, to encourage for the right research and development, the right systems engineering and the right investments in people and infrastructure, PEO IWS Rear Adm. Jon Hill told USNI News in a Nov. 24 interview.

Trying to plan for 30 years out is a challenge, he said. Satellites and space will become more important, but it is unclear how the Navy could best leverage it. Cyber will be important, but only time will tell how much it will affect defensive and offensive operations. Directed energy and supersonic weapons could eliminate the need for dangerous propellants on ships, but only if researchers can advance current technology so that lasers become powerful enough and hyper velocity weapons fast enough.

What is certain, Hill said, is two things: the Navy needs to increase its offensive capability, and it needs to effectively operate an entire netted force rather than just individual ships and planes. Both those future requirements will necessitate a new way of thinking, and for that reason the timing is right for a 30-year combat power plan.

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