By Lt. j.g. Kara Yingling
U.S. Navy Office of Information
Yesterday, the Surface Navy Association kicked off their 28th annual symposium. This year’s theme is “The Surface Warfare Strategy: A View Beyond the Horizon.”
Rear Adm. Peter Fanta, commander, Surface Warfare Division, OPNAV N96, and Maj. Gen. Christopher Owens, director, Expeditionary Warfare Division, OPNAV N95, spoke on a panel about building and programming the surface vision. Here are five things you need to know:
1. The Navy is pushing forward to test and install Over-the-Horizon missiles on Littoral Combat Ships (LCS). After identifying a requirement to employ a missile system on LCS, the Navy will move forward in a competitive testing environment to determine the correct missile for the job. By equipping surface ships with the right sensors, weapons, and systems, the Navy will develop and improve offensive capabilities to deliver combat power and overcome emerging challenges.
2. Illustrating the Navy’s ability to rapidly respond to Combatant Commander requirements, the four ballistic missile destroyers stationed in Rota are scheduled to integrate the Sea Rolling Airframe Missile (SeaRAM) this year. The extra fire power is important to the surface warfare community’s new distributed lethality philosophy. Through distributed lethality, surface vessels increase the Navy’s reach and ability to control the sea.
3. Since the current amphibious force has not reached their requirement of 38, the expeditionary Navy’s auxiliary platforms are crucial in augmenting the amphibious Fleet. Although the Expeditionary Mobile Base (ESB), Expeditionary Transfer Dock (ESD), and Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) are not warships, they are able to respond to lower end missions, freeing up the amphibious ships for large scale operations. Of particular note with its advanced capability, the USNS Puller (ESB-3) is scheduled to replace the USS Ponce (AFSB(I)) in the Arabian Gulf.
4. Amphibious Transport Dock (LPD) ships are crucial to the amphibious future. The 10th and 11th San Antonio Class LPDs are nearing completion. The future USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) is scheduled to commission in 2016. With LX (R) being built on the LPD 17 hull, the Whidbey Island Class LSD replacement will not only have tremendous capability but will bring commonality and a known system from the San Antonio class LPD to the amphibious Fleet.
5. A key to maintaining warfighting relevancy is ensuring the Naval Expeditionary Forces are modernizing their amphibious ships. The amphibious assault (LHD/LHA(R)) ships are receiving crucial upgrades to integrate the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter with the Fleet. All LHAs and LHDs will be optimized to deploy the F-35B in the future, increasing interoperability and utility of the platforms. USS Wasp (LHD 1) and USS America (LHA 6) are the first ships to receive modifications to deploy the F-35B aircraft.