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2002 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program Executive Summary BACKGROUND The Office of Naval Research (ONR) contracted with the Naval Studies Board (NSB) of the National Research Council (NRC) to establish a committee to review ONR's Air and Surface Weapons Technology (ASWT) program.1 The committee convened on May 14 and 15, 2002, and reviewed more than 20 science and technology (S&T) efforts that were presented as constituting the ASWT program. The committee then met separately on May 16, 2002, to formulate its findings and recommendations.2 This report represents the consensus views of the committee and is based on the information presented prior to and at the review, as well as on the committee members' accumulated experience and expertise in military operations, systems, and technologies. The ONR ASWT program resides within the Strike Technology Division (Code 351) of the Naval Expeditionary Warfare Department (Code 35). In 2002 the ASWT program is funded at $73.6 million, which is approximately 24 percent of the Strike Technology Division budget. As with all of ONR, the ASWT program began a major funding transition in FY02. Specifically, most of ONR's 6.3 funding (advanced development) and about half of its 6.2 funding (exploratory development) are now dedicated to 12 major program areas called Future Naval Capabilities (FNCs). The purpose of the FNCs is to focus advanced technology development at ONR on naval force capabilities that have been identified as having a high priority for the future by a cross-functional group of naval operators, naval development and support organizations, and ONR program managers. The remaining half of ONR's 6.2 funding and most of its 6.1 funding (basic research) are concentrated into discovery and invention (D&I) thrusts that will provide technologies, some of which will go into future FNCs. The ASWT 2002 budget is allocated as follows: (1) D&I at $19.9 million, (2) FNC at $36.5 million, and (3) other 6.2 and 6.3 at $17.2 million.3 1 Biographies of committee members are given in Appendix A. 2 The agenda for the 3-day meeting is presented in Appendix B. Also, it should be noted that no top-down exposition of critical Department of the Navy needs was presented to the committee. 3 There are currently no ONR ASWT program efforts funded at the 6.1 level. Approximately $5 million is funded by Code 351 for 6.1 intelligent autonomy efforts.
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2002 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program The ASWT program was presented to the committee in five D&I thrust areas (ordnance, directed energy, gun weaponry, precision targeting and guidance, and propulsion and aeromechanics) and in the air and surface weapons aspects of one FNC (Time Critical Strike).4 Several projects were presented within each D&I and FNC thrust area. Chapters 3 and 4 of this report cover these thrust areas, while Chapter 2 offers general observations and suggests new science and technology (S&T) areas for consideration by the ASWT program. The committee reviewed only the elements of naval air and surface weapons S&T managed by the ASWT program in Code 351. Other significant contributing technologies, such as energetic materials, which are developed in the ONR Engineering, Materials, and Physical Sciences S&T Department (Code 33), and target tracking and sensor fusion, which are developed in the ONR Information, Electronics, and Surveillance S&T Department (Code 31), were not reviewed at this time. In some respects, therefore, the committee did not receive a complete picture of the state of naval air and surface weapons S&T. ASSESSMENT OF THE ONR AIR AND SURFACE WEAPONS TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM The committee's assessment and recommended actions for the ASWT program by thrust area are summarized in Table ES.1 and are discussed in Chapters 3 and 4. In general, the committee found the ASWT program to be reasonably well focused and clearly responsive to the FNC process. Even the D&I thrusts are clearly focused on supporting one or more FNCs in the longer term. The quality of the work that was briefed was generally high. The technical approaches were sound and the results often impressive, especially in light of the relatively modest funding levels. Within the ASWT program as presented, the committee identified several excellent S&T projects that fully satisfied all of its evaluation criteria. The criteria selected by the committee, based on its experience in conducting similar reviews, included the appropriateness of the investment strategy within the context of Navy and Marine Corps priorities and requirements, impact on and relevance to Navy and Marine Corps needs, scientific and technical quality of the work, and progress by ONR since the 1999 review.5 However, the committee was concerned with other aspects of the ASWT program, namely the strong S&T focus on near-term needs and the occasional pursuit of S&T in isolation from future operational requirements. These areas of concern, including suggested new topics for consideration by the future ASWT program, are discussed below. Balancing Near- and Long-Term Needs While the FNC process for aligning and partnering the requirements, acquisition, and S&T communities appears in principle to be very successful in focusing S&T investments and creating a clear path 4 The study's terms of reference also call for the committee to review air and surface weapons aspects of the Missile Defense FNC. With the exception of the reactive materials project under the ordnance D&I thrust, the committee received no additional presentations or information relating to air and surface weapons aspects of the Missile Defense FNC. 5 This is the second cycle in NSB's review of ONR's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program; the first cycle was conducted in 1999 (Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 1999. 1999 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.).
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2002 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program for transition to acquisition within the future years' defense plan, it has done so by focusing ASWT program S&T almost exclusively on near-term air and surface weapons needs, to the detriment of developing technologies for the Navy and Marine Corps of the future. Moreover, FNCs emphasize transition rather than technology, and this is reflected in the ASWT program: (1) there is no 6.1 funding by Code 351 to address fundamental problems limiting performance and important program areas such as automatic target recognition (ATR), and (2) D&I thrusts are predictably being tailored to fit and align with FNCs. Furthermore, there seems to be little or no systems analysis capability within the overall S&T planning process at ONR. While the committee was pleased to see the development of the enabling capabilities effort to serve as scenarios for some elements of the ASWT program (e.g., the Time Critical Strike (TCS) FNC), it was not apparent that any further analysis leveraged those enabling capabilities to increase understanding of the requirements for and merits of the technology being pursued. Also of concern was the committee's impression that some ASWT program efforts were not fully aware of synergistic opportunities presented by programs in the other Services: for example, the Army 's heat capacity solid-state laser program and the U.S. Air Force-Swedish reactive materials program. As a result of these concerns, the committee believes that a program realignment will be needed in Code 351 if future naval air and surface weapons technology is to have a balanced S&T investment portfolio so that it can meet both near- and long-term needs. In all three of its earlier assessments, NSB recommended in one form or another the need for systems analysis as part of an overall S&T planning process at ONR.6 Most recently, in its 2001 assessment of ONR's Aircraft Technology program, NSB recommended that a long-range strategic plan be developed to provide (1) a framework for future ONR S&T investments, including emphasis on D&I, and (2) a vision for new capabilities, including advanced concepts at affordable costs. The committee believes that this earlier recommendation is applicable also to the ASWT program. Recommendation: In collaboration with other Department of the Navy elements, ONR should develop a strategic naval air and surface weapons technology plan that will achieve a balance between near- and long-term goals. This effort should include collaboration with both the Marine Corps Combat Development Command and the Navy Warfare Development Command, given their concept-based approaches, as well as the help of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) and the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), given their influence on naval air and surface weapons technology needs. Such collaboration might even help to stimulate, evaluate, and transition new technologies to fleet experiments and expedite their transition to operational use. Moreover, systems analysis should be used as a means for developing this strategic plan as well as throughout the overall S&T planning process at ONR. Finally, as part of this strategic plan, the committee recommends that all projects relevant to an S&T air and surface weapons capability throughout ONR and the Department of the Navy be collectively reviewed, even though they exist in several functional organizations. 6 Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 1999. 1999 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.; Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 2000. 2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Marine Corps Science and Technology Program, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.; Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 2001. 2001 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Aircraft Technology Program, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.
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2002 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program TABLE ES.1 Summary of Assessment and Recommended Actions for the ASWT Program Technology Thrust Appropriateness to Requirements Relevance to USN/USMC Need Scientific and Technical Quality of Work Progress Since 1999 Review Recommendations Discovery and Invention Technology Thrusts Ordnance Reactive materials Thermobaric weapons Survivability 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 5 5 Incorporate reactive materials in penetrating fragments that are robust against countermeasures. Use modeling and simulation to better estimate time-space distribution of energetic release. Conduct R&D effort to optimize composition of fieldable thermobaric explosive composition with any ACTD units delivered to be warfighters after operational, test, and evaluation safety review and analysis. Continue to develop interactive experimental and calculational program to model thermal-event (cook-off) response of weapons with DOE laboratories. Develop more tractable explosive composition for high-speed penetrating munitions in concert with the National Energetics Program. Directed energy Pointing and tracking Rationale for FEL and alternatives 3 3 3 3 2 2 5 5 Demonstrate capability to detect, identify, and acquire a target in high sea clutter and point a laser at very low elevations. Rationale for solid-state laser choices Propagation 3 3 3 3 3 3 5 5 Conduct additional systems study of FEL scale-up uncertainties and of alternative operating wavelengths.
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2002 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program Technology Thrust Appropriateness to Requirements Relevance to USN/USMC Need Scientific and Technical Quality of Work Progress Since 1999 Review Recommendations Nonlethal options for asymmetric threats 3 3 3 5 Prepare historical summary to compare/contrast competing solid-state laser techniques with ONR choices. Provide rationale for current approach of laboratory/propagation/ simulation vis-à-vis existing body of theoretical/experimental knowledge. Consider that the choice of 1-micron wavelength is not eye-safe. Consider high-power microwaves against asymmetric threats. Gun weaponry Projectiles and gun launchers Guidance for projectiles 3 1 2 1 2 1 5 1 Complete but do not push for ranges greater than already demonstrated to avoid high risk in related areas such as barrel erosion. Conduct systems analysis including logistics. Explore solid rocket-propelled ballistic missiles for longer-range fire missions. Consider that low-cost, high-acceleration, precision-guidance work has broad utility and should be continued. Precision targeting and guidance 2 2 2 2 Direct greater effort toward integrating data from disparate sources, and use of the fused data to accelerate decision making. Continue and augment current program with appropriate 6.1 funds.
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2002 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program Technology Thrust Appropriateness to Requirements Relevance to USN/USMC Need Scientific and Technical Quality of Work Progress Since 1999 Review Recommendations Precision targeting and guidance Continue and augment the current program, which also may benefit missile programs in the strike area. Coordinate with other DARPA/Service programs. Propulsion and aeromechanics Hypersonic weapon technology Integrated high payoff rocket technology 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 5 Initiate/stimulate program toward better high-temperature structural integration analysis. Ensure that producibility and materials costs are considered in concept design decisions to get an acceptable cost per round. Consider producibility and unit cost as key factors. Document breakthrough that led to solution of the nozzle erosion problem. Continue this nationally well-integrated work. Time-critical Strike Technology Thrusts Cruise missile real-time retargeting 2 2 3 2 Devote more effort to verification of ATR algorithm that is selected for inclusion in the weapon. Plan eventual integration of product of WIL thrust if that is successful. Image and video analysis 2 2 3 2 Complete on present schedule. Possibly, accelerate battle damage assessment work. Coordinate with related USAF and NRO efforts.
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2002 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program Technology Thrust Appropriateness to Requirements Relevance to USN/USMC Need Scientific and Technical Quality of Work Progress Since 1999 Review Recommendations Enhanced target acquisition and location system 2 2 2 2 Continue the present program to transition. Precision strike navigation 1 1 1 2–1 Pursue to successful completion reduced-cost, accurate inertial instruments. Mission responsive ordnance 1 1 2 2 Complete work on current payload. Consider use of miniaturized proximity fuzes on submunition. High-speed antiradiation demonstration 2 2 2 2 Complete to transition as part of the development of the HSARM under PMA-242 sponsorship. Weapons imagery link 1 1 1 2 Complete to scheduled transition to provide a high-performance modern replacement for the AWW-13 data link. Advanced gun barrel technologies 3 3 3 5 Develop and validate scaling laws for fatigue life and erosion rates that will permit small-scale model data to be extrapolated to full scale. Utilize existing Air Force databases and expertise on fatigue of metal matrix composites in selection of materials, processing techniques, and integrated barrel designs. NOTE: 1=Excellent; 2=Good; 3=Fair; 4=Poor; 5=Not Applicable. Acronyms used are defined in Appendix C.
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2002 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program Responding to Future Operational Requirements The committee's first review criterion was the appropriateness of the ASWT program investment strategy within the context of Navy and Marine Corps priorities and requirements. In many thrust areas (e.g., precision strike navigation and cruise missile real-time retargeting), the ASWT program seemed to be responsive to operational requirements, while in other areas (e.g., gun weaponry and directed energy) there seemed to be a much weaker connection between the technology and the naval requirement. In the gun weaponry area, the NSB's 1999 assessment of the ASWT program pointed out the obvious application and advantage of solid-rocket-propelled weapons at the longer ranges in lieu of trying to push gun-launched rocket-assisted projectiles or extended-range guided munitions (ERGMs) to distances that would entail many other problems (e.g., erosion and logistics). The committee was told that there are two obstacles to the use of solid-rocket weapons for volume fire support: (1) the inability to provide an at-sea reload capability and (2) the limited number of launchers and the limited magazine space available onboard most surface combatants. In the committee's view, both of these obstacles are surmountable. Recommendation: ONR should consider funding a significant D&I effort and a related analysis to address the emerging need for rockets for naval fire support. This future program should have the following components: A new family of stowage and launching canisters that will allow cold launch steam or compressed-gas ejection of rocket-launched weapons from existing vertical launch system (VLS)-equipped combatants as well as from specialized new combatants. A solid-rocket weapon that builds on the integrated high-payoff rocket propulsion technology (IHPRPT) thrust and the excellent microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) precision-guidance work now being pursued by Code 351. Such weapons, cold-launched, could be carried by other types of combatants such as the littoral combat ship now in the concept development stage. A systems development and analysis effort addressing at-sea reload in the context of a specialized large-magazine ship capable of both resupply and direct launch of weapons. Recommended New Program Areas The committee suggests four new program areas for ONR's consideration in the future ASWT program. The topics range from basic research to advanced technologies. Compelling Problems of the Time Critical Strike FNC The committee believes that, overall, the TCS FNC does not aggressively address some of the more urgent problems of time-critical strike. Areas that need to be investigated include the following: Improved decision aids that will accelerate the required analyses of the potential for collateral or unintended damage that must accompany each target nomination before weapon release can be authorized for a given target. Improved sensor systems and processing algorithms to allow more efficient discrimination between targets and decoys and between military and civil targets.
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2002 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program New or expanded concepts of operation (CONOPS) and new command, control, and targeting systems for loitering weapons and the platforms (e.g., UCAVs) that might carry them. New or expanded CONOPS for a precision, high-speed, surface-to-surface weapon that can reach its intended target from long standoff distances in times that are short compared with the dwell times of mobile or relocatable targets. A more systems-oriented approach to the target recognition-weapon assignment chain by considering all potential sources of data that can be applied and robust means of fusing those data for effective and rapid correlation of scenes and viewpoints as they change with time. There exist tools and capabilities that should be but are not being applied to the current work, which is focused on today's weapon system CONOPS. Offense-Defense Coordination and Deconfliction Based on the information presented to the committee, Code 351 has no current or future efforts aimed at addressing offense-defense coordination and deconfliction. In many situations, the advantages of the systems that Code 351 is developing will be negated unless better coordination is achieved. Accordingly, the committee recommends that ONR, in collaboration with the appropriate Department of the Navy offices, undertake to develop the technical means and CONOPS by which the Navy and Marine Corps could achieve the coordination necessary for expeditionary warfare, even in the absence of such means at the Joint level and in the other Services. Asymmetric Threats The committee was briefed on concerns about asymmetric threats and the special requirements imposed by them. A clear need is layered defense with a high probability of single-shot, single-burst kill using multispectral acquisition and tracking. Of particular interest in light of the constraints on rules of engagement would be the application of nonlethal concepts that are currently in development in other Services, discussed in Chapter 3 under “Directed Energy.” The committee recommends investigating some nonlethal approaches in future Code 351 programs, or, at a minimum, integration of nonlethal approaches into systems in coordination with Code 353 (Expeditionary Operations Technology Division). Automatic Target Recognition Fundamentals Advantage should be taken of multispectral imaging, special-purpose array processors designed for high-speed scene-to-scene correlation, and commercially available high-speed terrain-rendering engines to create common viewpoints for images from multiple sensor platforms. There are many areas of fundamental research that could have considerable impact but that were not briefed. Even if these areas are addressed elsewhere in ONR, their omission from the Code 351 agenda slows the pace with which they might be incorporated into FNCs. The committee recommends that in cooperation with other relevant ONR activity, Code 351 accelerate the automatic target recognition program area.
Representative terms from entire chapter: