New Technology Approaches Can Solve Complex U.S. Navy Problems

By: Cmdr. Jamie Gateau, USN (Ret.), SIGNAL Magazine

“U.S. Navy commanders often struggle to deliver uninterrupted communications at sea without the added complications of providing command and control in denied or degraded environments. They face a double whammy of operational and technical hurdles.

Processes for developing concepts of operations are complex, painstaking and exacting. Although technology sets the boundaries for what is possible, most of the hard work is decidedly nontechnical. It lies in determining which signals and messages have priority, which data sources and destinations are critical, and which ones can be relegated—and for how long.

That is not meant to understate the technological obstacles Navy leaders grapple with—hurdles the private sector already has solved. Solutions can be found in software-defined networking (SDN), network function virtualization (NFV) and network policy orchestration. These technologies hold the keys to enabling command and control in a denied or degraded environment (C2D2E) afloat and enhancing security, mission capability and flexibility ashore.”

CLICK HERE to read more.

Full Speed Ahead For Autonomous Countermine Technologies

By: Sandra Jontz, SIGNAL Magazine

“U.S. Navy researchers hope to advance maritime countermine technology by developing fully autonomous systems that support the service’s latest ships and doctrine. Both new threats and innovative naval systems are remaking the undersea arena in ways that render obsolete conventional countermine

The Navy has come a long way from the self-propelled torpedoes of the 1860s. With processors and sensors smaller, cheaper and more powerful than ever, fully autonomous weapon systems are not far from reality. Today, as Defense Department leaders wrangle with ethics and policy aspects of this brave new world—likely a decade off—Navy engineers push full speed ahead to create platforms that take humans out of the mission loop.

Scientists are sailing toward new expeditionary defense systems that augment the Navy’s littoral combat ship (LCS) mine and antisubmarine warfare mission modules. Comparable in size to frigates, LCSs—with their technological advances—require about half the crew of their larger cousins, putting fewer sailors in harm’s way and reducing logistical support requirements.”

CLICK HERE to learn more.

U.S. Navy Runs Interference on Signals Conflict

By: Sandra Jontz, SIGNAL Magazine

“Advances in a plethora of military communication and situational awareness platforms have created unintended repercussions for the U.S. Navy, from the “forest of antennas” that can consume a ship’s deck to the debilitating effects of radio interference that clog airwaves and impede critical links to vessels, aircraft, drones and even satellites. Navy engineers are toiling on a handful of projects to ensure effective and secure communication links, which are so fundamental to military operations.

Modern fleets rely heavily on communication, especially as the military grows its network-centric environment, says Andrew Robertson, a physicist for the System Integration and Instrumentation Group at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), who highlights several key projects underway.

He begins by relating details of the Navy’s Integrated Topside (InTop) communications platform, a collaborative research effort with the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to reduce the number of radio frequency (RF) and microwave antennas aboard ships.”

CLICK HERE to learn more.

Security, Modularity Drive Navy Cyber

By: Robert K. Ackerman, SIGNAL Magazine

“Cleaner, more modular software that can be updated with less fuss tops the U.S. Navy’s wish list as it girds its fleet for warfighting in cyberspace. These advances would not only help the service stay atop the wave of information system innovation but also contribute to better security amid growing and changing threats.

The Navy wants industry to develop operating systems and software from the start with fewer bugs. These software products should have fewer vulnerabilities that can be exploited by an adversary, which compound the service’s efforts at cybersecurity.

“We tend to continue to use code that has vulnerabilities over and over again in the commercial world, and industry can help drive the requirement to really clean up some of the code that’s already there,” offers Rear Adm. Nancy A. Norton, USN, director of warfare integration for information warfare in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OpNav) and deputy director of Navy cybersecurity.”

CLICK HERE to read more.

Marines Seek to Arm MV-22 Osprey, Improve Harvest Hawk System

By: Megan Eckstein, USNI News

“THE PENTAGON – The Marine Corps continues to pursue lethality upgrades to its new aircraft, even as the service is still in the midst of recapitalizing its tactical aviation platforms, the deputy commandant for aviation told reporters on Wednesday.

Previewing this year’s “Marine Aviation Plan 2017” – which has already been signed and should be released soon – Lt. Gen. Jon Davis said the Marine Corps hopes to put a new sensor on the nose of the MV-22 Osprey both for safety of flight and to lead the way to adding weapons to the tiltrotor plane.

The 2016 aviation plan listed a targeting forward-looking infrared (TFLIR) sensor with a laser target designator and video data link as an upgrade the Marines were interested in but had not yet budgeted. The service also listed an enhanced weapon system for medium-range immediate suppression as an unfunded wish.”

CLICK HERE to read more.

Marine Aviation Going After Small Maintenance Issues that Create Big Readiness Problems

By: Megan Eckstein, USNI News

“THE PENTAGON – The Marine Corps is tackling the little problems that combine to create major burdens on the aviation maintenance community, the deputy commandant for aviation told reporters today.

From a lack of spare parts, to Class C mishaps involving damaging a plane while towing it on the ground, to wasting time moving planes from one squadron to another, Lt. Gen. Jon Davis said at a media roundtable today that he was cracking down on these things that ultimately take maintainers’ attention away from routine maintenance that keeps airplanes flying.

“You guys are all very interested in the Class A mishap rate because that’s the one where airplanes are destroyed and people are killed; we’ve been focused on the little ones as well, because that takes airplanes off the flight schedule [and] I can’t fly my guys the hours they’re supposed to,” he said.”

CLICK HERE to read more.

VCNO Moran: Navy is Less Ready Because ‘We’re Too Small’

By: Sam LaGrone, USNI News

“A historically small fleet and a relentless operational tempo are proving the Navy is too small to meet more than its bare minimum requirement around the world, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran told a Senate panel on Wednesday.

“We know we’re too small for what we’re being asked to do today,” Moran told the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on readiness and management support.
“A smaller fleet operating at the same pace is wearing out faster. Work has increased, and we’re asking an awful lot of our sailors and Navy civilians to fix [it].”

Currently, the Navy has about 275 active ships and about 322, 000 active duty sailors. According to Moran that’s down from a 2001 total of 316 ships and more than 400,000 sailors. That difference is also compounded by an increased demand on the service by the geographical combatant commanders – for whom the Navy can only meet 40 percent of their demand, he said.”

CLICK HERE to read more.