Executive Summary

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) contracted with the National Research Council (NRC) to establish a committee to review ONR's Air and Surface Weapons Technology (ASWT) program. The program review was held on May 26 and 27, 1999. This report is based on the information presented at the review.

The ONR ASWT program resides within the Strike Technology Division of ONR's Naval Expeditionary Warfare Science and Technology Department and accounts for approximately 25 percent of the department's budget. The program comprises the following weaponry mission areas: air superiority, precision strike, naval fire support, and ship-based defense, as well as a supporting science and technology (S&T) 6.1 and 6.2 effort including uninhabited combat air vehicles (UCAVs). Except for the supporting S&T work, the performing organizations were the Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) China Lake, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren. Industrial contractors provide support to both the NAWC and the NSWC and, together with academic contractors, perform the work in the supporting S&T area.

In formulating the concerns, conclusions, and recommendations in the specific areas presented, the Committee on the Review of ONR's Air and Surface Weaponry Program used its own judgment based on its expertise in naval operations, systems, and technology. Generally, the committee found that most elements of the ASWT program were coupled to stated future Navy and Marine Corps needs. In each mission area, there were specific opportunities for timely transitioning of technology into naval weapon system development programs which were considered in order that meaningful, exploitable technology development could be ready in time for introduction into these programs. In many cases, knowledge of parallel efforts in other services or agencies was evident. The ASWT program also exhibited cooperation with industry and leveraging of industry independent research and development (IR&D).

For the most part, the work in the program components was focused on the right time frame—far enough into the future without being futuristic. Although specific comments on individual program components are made in Chapter 2 of this report, the committee points out here its finding that the work on enhancements of the extended-range guided missile (ERGM) at NSWC Dahlgren, which could be transferable to a pure missile system, was particularly noteworthy.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 1
1999 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program Executive Summary The Office of Naval Research (ONR) contracted with the National Research Council (NRC) to establish a committee to review ONR's Air and Surface Weapons Technology (ASWT) program. The program review was held on May 26 and 27, 1999. This report is based on the information presented at the review. The ONR ASWT program resides within the Strike Technology Division of ONR's Naval Expeditionary Warfare Science and Technology Department and accounts for approximately 25 percent of the department's budget. The program comprises the following weaponry mission areas: air superiority, precision strike, naval fire support, and ship-based defense, as well as a supporting science and technology (S&T) 6.1 and 6.2 effort including uninhabited combat air vehicles (UCAVs). Except for the supporting S&T work, the performing organizations were the Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) China Lake, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren. Industrial contractors provide support to both the NAWC and the NSWC and, together with academic contractors, perform the work in the supporting S&T area. In formulating the concerns, conclusions, and recommendations in the specific areas presented, the Committee on the Review of ONR's Air and Surface Weaponry Program used its own judgment based on its expertise in naval operations, systems, and technology. Generally, the committee found that most elements of the ASWT program were coupled to stated future Navy and Marine Corps needs. In each mission area, there were specific opportunities for timely transitioning of technology into naval weapon system development programs which were considered in order that meaningful, exploitable technology development could be ready in time for introduction into these programs. In many cases, knowledge of parallel efforts in other services or agencies was evident. The ASWT program also exhibited cooperation with industry and leveraging of industry independent research and development (IR&D). For the most part, the work in the program components was focused on the right time frame—far enough into the future without being futuristic. Although specific comments on individual program components are made in Chapter 2 of this report, the committee points out here its finding that the work on enhancements of the extended-range guided missile (ERGM) at NSWC Dahlgren, which could be transferable to a pure missile system, was particularly noteworthy.

OCR for page 1
1999 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program The ONR's ASWT program heavily favors technology that supports gun systems, and this technology consists largely of “in-the-box”1 and “stovepipe”2 developments. A 1996 review group3 reached a similar conclusion about the overall ASWT program. Although there is a valid niche for naval gun systems, it is addressed by current procurement and 6.4 programs. The ONR ASWT program should be more future-oriented and should address some important current and emerging weapon needs. For example, the Navy has a credible capability to attack stationary targets with a variety of weapons, but this capability is heavily dependent on the robustness of the Global Positioning System (GPS), and the Navy has no standoff, unmanned weapons to attack moving targets illuminated by moving-target-indicator (MTI) radar. The ONR ASWT program devotes only a limited effort to tasks that are directly responsive to a concept of operations that would allow a moving target to be attacked by weapons launched from ranges beyond the line of sight of the launch platform. As weapon range requirements increase, there will be an increasing need to launch weapons on targets detected and held by sensors on platforms other than the weapon launch platform. The committee believes that the level of effort devoted to coupling detection systems on remote platforms to the targeting and fire control systems of Navy air-and surface-launched weapons is inadequate. The current ONR ASWT program components in naval fire support are focused on increasing the range of hybrid, gun-launched, 5-inch missiles. However, the physics of the problem suggest that, as range and payload lethality requirements increase, surface-launched weapons should evolve into rocket-launched missiles. Although much of the current guidance work also applies to missile guidance, no work on imaginative solutions to the problems associated with the development of longer-range (> 100 nautical miles), small-diameter, ship-launched missiles was evident. There was no evidence that an overall system analysis was done. This was particularly true for systems that in the future will of necessity rely on distributed sensors and data communications. In the committee's view, such an analysis would involve thinking through the entire weapons system (detection to target kill) into which a specific technology development might fit, and estimating the performance and cost parameter ranges that would make the technology acceptable. The committee (as also the 1996 ONR Board of Visitors [BOV] review group) did not interpret the terms of reference of the study to include a major emphasis on affordability. However, cost and affordability are referred to throughout this assessment as an important factor in the overall weapons systems analysis recommended by the committee to support decisions on technology development. The committee recommends that a significant portion of ONR's ASWT program be devoted to the exploration of new system concepts and components that support the need for long-range weapons with sufficient warhead yield and precision of delivery that can be launched from platforms outside the range of hostile defensive weapons. This approach is further elaborated in Chapter 1. Chapter 2 gives the committee's assessment and its recommendations for improving ONR's ASWT program. A common thread through these recommendations is the need for systems studies and analysis that involve other ONR codes with relevant responsibilities for overall systems definition. Similar commentary was provided by the previous review group. The committee's recommendations are summarized as follows: 1   The term “in the box” means within the context of current program thinking. 2   The term “stovepipe” refers to a program that stands alone, i.e., is constructed and supported to work by itself. 3   The Office of Naval Research's Board of Visitors (BOV) review group, May 1996.

OCR for page 1
1999 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program Air Superiority. Taking into account the strong industrial capability in this area, institute systems studies to define sensors, weapons, and concepts of operations that will reduce the occurrence of short-range air-to-air engagements. Program component effort should continue toward significant and low-cost improvements in missile kinematics, seeker performance, off-bore-sight capability, and warhead lethality. Precision Strike. Conduct a study (drawing on the expertise of all relevant ONR codes) to define all components and their key characteristics (including latencies) of a responsive and precise robust sensor-to-target-kill (and damage assessment) chain that can engage ephemeral targets. Based on such studies, the cost-effectiveness of key technology enablers could be evaluated and a small number of investments made to bring 6.2 concepts rapidly to advanced concept technology demonstrations (ACTDs). Naval Fire Support. Rebalance the program components by increasing efforts on technology for surface-launched missiles for fire support at ranges beyond those expected for ERGMs. Increase the level of effort toward systems to attack moving targets. Provide sensors and final-stage guidance for autonomous or human-aided missile attack. Pursue technology for integration of emerging sensors and sensor-weapons communications. Ship-based Defense. Increase effort toward a layered defense against low-observable, low-attitude, maneuvering missiles in the presence of littoral clutter. Continue existing sensor-related efforts. ASWT Supporting Science and Technology (S&T) (6.1 and 6.2) Program Areas. Reduce the number of intelligent air vehicles and UCAV programs, and then redirect 6.1 and 6.2 program components toward closer coupling to other important needs of ONR's ASWT program. Surviving 6.1 candidate program components also should be scrutinized carefully for scientific merit.