and airwing. Engineering plants could include high-power-density nuclear power plants with integrated electric power and propulsion systems. Steam catapults may have given way to lighter, less manpower-intensive systems (candidate systems include electromagnetic and internal combustion catapults). The carrier could be configured to handle conventional takeoff and landing, short takeoff and vertical landing, vertical takeoff and landing, and pilotless aircraft. It will have a complete mission planning capability for all weapon systems (joint weapons) and may be capable of controlling one or more arsenal ships.

  • The surface warfare combatant will be a rugged, survivable, highly automated, low-signature platform with an efficient hull form and electric drive. The ship will be minimally manned and will have the capability to deliver ordnance against air, surface, and subsurface targets (the linear descendant of the Fletcher). It will have a mission planning capability and an ability to guide either surface- or air-launched weapons. It will be capable of operating independently and in conjunction with one or more arsenal ship types and aircraft carrier battle groups. Some surface ships will have guns and missiles for naval surface fire support, as well as antiaircraft warfare, antisubmarine warfare, and theater missile defense mission capabilities.

  • A new ship type, the arsenal ship, will project any and all of the vertical launch system (VLS) weapons of the 21st century. It will support all mission areas for which there is a VLS weapon. The weapon system of this ship type will be controlled remotely from another ship, a land station, or a control aircraft. Primary ship defense of this type will derive from low signatures in all areas: radar, acoustic, magnetic, infrared (IR), and visible.

  • Amphibious platforms will be configured to support littoral warfare. It is envisioned that two classes will dominate: (1) a large ship similar to today's aircapable ships carrying advanced amphibious assault vehicles, landing craft air cushioned, rotary wing aircraft, and VLS for protection, strike, and remote launch; and (2) a smaller, dedicated platform to support Marine Corps concepts such as Sea Dragon.

The following are the technology focus areas for major efforts with respect to surface platforms:

  • Minimal manning through automation,

  • Integrated electric power and propulsion systems,

  • Signature reduction,

  • Modular design,

  • Environmental control,

  • Aircraft catapults, and

  • Indigenous self-defense. 

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