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Navy Integrates Weapon Systems with Unmanned Vehicles for New Surface Warfare Capability

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Navy engineers used technologies supporting the science of integration to guide live gun fire onto distant targets, demonstrating a new integrated surface warfare capability in a maritime environment, Sept. 29.

Military and civilian leaders observed as unmanned surface and air vehicles – integrated with naval guns and the Aegis combat system – relayed targeting data to operators engaging fictitious threats on the Potomac River Test Range.

“This is a major first step in demonstrating an integrated surface warfare capability utilizing unmanned vehicles in support of the key engagement functions of plan, detect, control, engage and assess,” said Neil Baron, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) distinguished scientist for combat control. “We are working hard at focusing on the integration sciences to deal with mission engineering challenges for surface warfare.”

Specifically, Baron and his team of Navy scientists and engineers used the science of integration to make surface warfare systems interoperable with unmanned air and unmanned surface vehicles, enabling streaming identification and shot correction data to naval gunnery throughout the test.

“It’s a spectacular example of how scientists and engineers are enabling new technologies for the warfighter,” said Baron.

Surface warfare officers evaluating the technology joined civilian technologists at the event to prove the Navy can bridge interoperability gaps – known as the interstitial space – between complex system-of-systems.

“The ability to send a small, persistent unmanned system down range in hostile territory for real-time gun or missile engagement spotting and targeting is needed by warships,” said NSWCDD Engagement Systems Department Military Deputy Cmdr. Marc Williams. “The technology has the potential to be important for surface ships, especially relating to Aegis weapon system, Naval Surface Fire Support, and surface warfare.”

Williams – the surface warfare tactical action officer for the experiment – ordered a gun engagement on a fictitious threat based on identification and targeting data he …read more

Source:: Defense Talk (Naval)

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