By Rear Adm. Jon Hill
Program Executive Officer for Integrated Warfare Systems
In today’s maritime environment, challenges for control of the seas are rapidly emerging. To ensure the U.S. Navy maintains our global maritime superiority, we must outpace the threats resident in the arsenals of our adversaries.
Last June, the Navy stood up a Distributed Lethality Task Force to define the capabilities and capacity needed across all domains to become a more offensive and dominant Navy. For the Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS), delivering distributed lethality will require a system-of-systems engineering approach that addresses the Navy’s near-, mid- and far-term requirements. Simply put, we have to design platforms and combat systems together to maximize interoperability.
To that end, PEO IWS is planning for the future while engineering cost conscience solutions to today’s threats. Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air is one example. By integrating current programs of record and linking advanced sensors and combat systems to long-range weapons, we’re able to increase the offensive battlespace while enhancing the anti-air and anti-surface lethality of our surface fleet.
Another example was the installation and successful live-fire test of the SeaRAM Close-In Weapon System Anti-Ship Missile Defense System on USS Porter (DDG 78) earlier this year. The replacement of the aft Close-In Weapon System aboard a guided missile destroyer with a MK 15 SeaRAM was a rapid and cost effective solution to a critical warfighting requirement. Across a number of commands and organizations, our weapons, ship integration and testing experts coordinated to identify assets, execute critical engineering requirements, deliver equipment, complete system installation and conduct testing on a foreign test range—all in record time, professionally and with the urgency of meeting a critical warfighting need.
As we expand our combat capabilities, our allies look to us for leading edge technologies and battlespace advantage—and this only works to enhance our distributed lethality network. These international relationships form the backbone of a vibrant, interoperable naval power network.
The future of naval combat systems will continue to involve identifying and defeating complex and increasingly sophisticated threats. If the United States is to remain the world’s preeminent power, we have to continue to develop improved capabilities, increase the velocity at which we install those capabilities, diversify our weapons inventories and build our networks to incorporate our allies.
Hear more from Navy leadership on this topic from the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space panel May 17 in this video below.