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Overview of the 1999 ONR ASWT Program Assessment

INTRODUCTION

The Office of Naval Research's (ONR's) Air and Surface Weapons Technology (ASWT) program resides within the Strike Technology Division of the Naval Expeditionary Warfare Science and Technology Department of ONR and accounts for approximately 25 percent of the department's budget. The goals of the ASWT program are to develop and transition enabling weapons technologies that provide the fleet affordable conventional weapons systems capable of meeting the need for upgrades of today's weapons and that lay the foundation for weapons of tomorrow. Within the ASWT program, technology investments are concentrated in the areas of guidance and control, fire control (including mission planning), aeromechanics, solid and air-breathing propulsion, ordnance (fuse/safe and arm/warheads), and naval gun systems and launchers. Overarching objectives for the different technology areas include affordability, signature management, longer standoff ranges, increased agility and maneuverability in the final-stages of engagement, reduced time to target, increased lethality, and minimized collateral damage.

SCOPE OF AND APPROACH TO THE ASSESSMENT

The role of the ONR 6.2 (exploratory development) and 6.3 (advanced development) program areas in the ASWT program is to develop technology to meet future requirements of naval weapons research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E). The role of the 6.1 program area is to support fundamental research underlying these development efforts. The 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 programs must also provide support for and develop needed improvements to existing weapon systems. The committee believes that the overall ASWT program should also examine and explore opportunities in approaches not now pursued by the Navy or Marine Corps (in current prototype or production aircraft) either for budgetary reasons or because the impact of emerging trends in technology is not yet clearly visible.

Thus, the Committee on the Review of ONR's Air and Surface Weaponry Program took the approach that it was constituted to assess the extent to which ONR's ASWT program supported the



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1999 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program 1 Overview of the 1999 ONR ASWT Program Assessment INTRODUCTION The Office of Naval Research's (ONR's) Air and Surface Weapons Technology (ASWT) program resides within the Strike Technology Division of the Naval Expeditionary Warfare Science and Technology Department of ONR and accounts for approximately 25 percent of the department's budget. The goals of the ASWT program are to develop and transition enabling weapons technologies that provide the fleet affordable conventional weapons systems capable of meeting the need for upgrades of today's weapons and that lay the foundation for weapons of tomorrow. Within the ASWT program, technology investments are concentrated in the areas of guidance and control, fire control (including mission planning), aeromechanics, solid and air-breathing propulsion, ordnance (fuse/safe and arm/warheads), and naval gun systems and launchers. Overarching objectives for the different technology areas include affordability, signature management, longer standoff ranges, increased agility and maneuverability in the final-stages of engagement, reduced time to target, increased lethality, and minimized collateral damage. SCOPE OF AND APPROACH TO THE ASSESSMENT The role of the ONR 6.2 (exploratory development) and 6.3 (advanced development) program areas in the ASWT program is to develop technology to meet future requirements of naval weapons research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E). The role of the 6.1 program area is to support fundamental research underlying these development efforts. The 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3 programs must also provide support for and develop needed improvements to existing weapon systems. The committee believes that the overall ASWT program should also examine and explore opportunities in approaches not now pursued by the Navy or Marine Corps (in current prototype or production aircraft) either for budgetary reasons or because the impact of emerging trends in technology is not yet clearly visible. Thus, the Committee on the Review of ONR's Air and Surface Weaponry Program took the approach that it was constituted to assess the extent to which ONR's ASWT program supported the

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1999 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program development of needed improvements to existing weapon systems as well as whether it was examining imaginative solutions to existing problems and was exploring possible solutions for emerging problems and future needs. In addition to assessing the relevance of ONR's ASWT program components to present and perceived naval needs, the committee also tried to determine if the supporting science and technology (S&T) (6.1 and 6.2) work pursued by ONR's Naval Expeditionary Warfare Science and Technology Department was at the forefront of technology in the fields involved, and the committee attempted to determine the degree to which ONR and its principal investigators were aware of or involved with similar work done elsewhere. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS Favorable Aspects of the ONR ASWT Program. Generally, most elements of the ASWT program were coupled to stated Navy and Marine Corps future needs, and specific opportunities for transitioning technology into naval weapon system development programs 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 developments in other services or agencies was evident. The program also exhibited cooperation with industry and leveraging of industry independent research and development (IR&D). Also, the program components, for the most part, looked at the right time frame—far enough into the future without being futuristic. Although specific comments on individual program components are made in Chapter 2, the committee notes here its though that the work on enhancements of the hybrid gun missile (extended-range guided missile [ERGM]) at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren, which could be transferable to a pure missile system, was particularly noteworthy. To overcome the inability to fund important program components adequately because available money must be spread over too large an area, ONR has recently adopted a top-level strategy of concentrating funding on specific, highly important naval capability shortfalls. These areas of funding concentration are called “spikes.” Some of the ASWT program components seemed to be in “spike” areas (e.g., time-critical strike) and some (e.g., Global Positioning System [GPS] and integrated high-performance turbine engine technology) did not. The impact of the “spike” approach was not elaborated in the presentations made to the committee. Even though it will reduce funding in some areas now pursued, the “spike” approach was regarded by the committee as a good strategy that affords opportunities to accomplish important advances in a reasonable period of time in selected technologies. ONR also recognizes that in certain areas other organizations (including industry) spend considerably more money than ONR can afford, and therefore ONR has elected not to do work in those areas. ONR, on the other hand, is funding efforts in areas important to the Navy and Marine Corps where other organizations are not likely to expend much effort. For example, traditionally the technology of air-to-air weaponry guidance and control, aerodynamics, and airframe technology has been developed by industry. On the other hand, to a large extent, warhead and propulsion technologies are not funded by industry. In these respects ONR's contributions are well invested. The committee also noted that several recommendations of the ONR Board of Visitors (BOV) review group were implemented,1 to the general benefit of the ONR ASWT program. Among these were relating the ONR program to specific naval needs and attempting to identify transition opportunities. 1    See “Other Issues” following the next section.

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1999 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program Areas of Concern The overall ONR naval fire support effort heavily favors technology that supports gun systems. The committee is deeply concerned about the complete lack of effort on alternatives to the 5-inch gun. Although further incremental improvements may be possible with this system, the committee believes that new approaches and technology will be required to satisfy future Marine Corps needs. Marine Corps doctrine is to use the V-22 to allow operations 200 nautical miles inland. If a 5-inch missile can be made with a kinematic range of 200 nautical miles, its payload will undoubtedly be zero. The naval fire support mission area will need to identify new weapons concepts to provide a transport system that will project militarily realistic payloads a distance of about 200 nautical miles. The ONR's naval fire support effort should be considering such capabilities. Currently, however, the naval fire support effort consists largely of “in-the-box” and “stovepipe”2 developments in air-to-air weaponry. The 1996 BOV review group shared the perception that the overall ASWT program does not address some important emerging weapon needs. For example, although naval forces have a credible capability to attack stationary targets with a variety of weapons, they have 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. In the future, as weapon range requirements increase, there will be an increasing need to launch weapons on targets that are detected and held by sensors on platforms other than the weapon launch platform. The committee believes that the ASWT program contains an inadequate effort to couple detection systems on other platforms to the targeting and fire control of naval air-and surface-launched weapons. Unless they depart from the protective sanctuaries of altitude above the range of defense of shoulder-fired defensive missiles and employ command-guided weapons, naval aircraft have extremely limited capabilities to engage moving targets. If naval aircraft employ GPS-guided standoff weapons, they have no capability for the successful engagement of moving targets. The Navy has an excellent capability for striking stationary targets. If GPS is not jammed, the Navy's GPS-guided weapons will hit the target GPS coordinates that they have been programmed to hit. However, if the target has moved between the time it was detected and the time that a GPS-guided weapon has been launched, the target will escape destruction. Other than in future variants of the Tomahawk missile, no capability to retarget current GPS-guided weapons while in flight is planned. The accuracy of guidance and the delivery of weapons such as the joint standoff weapon (JSOW) and ERGM preclude the employment of unitary warheads in these munitions, which consequently are ineffective against hardened point targets. Finally, the Navy has no real capability to engage pop-up targets that emerge from hiding for only short periods of time. Part of the problem perceived by the committee is structural within ONR and cannot be ascribed to deficiencies of the ASWT program. Work related to network-based targeting and network-centric warfare, mission planning, and autonomous target recognition is undertaken within other divisions of ONR. Nevertheless, the committee was concerned that there was little evidence in the material presented and discussions with ONR program managers that concepts for precision strike and naval fire support weapons were coordinated with work not managed by the ASWT program. Improved weapon kinematics and warheads are of little value if weapons cannot be guided to their targets. Despite the fact that the current focus of the naval fire support mission area is increased-range hybrid gun-launched missiles, as range and payload lethality requirements increase, the physics of the 2    These terms are defined in footnotes 1 and 2 in the Executive Summary.

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1999 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program problem suggest that 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. The committee found no evidence that overall system analysis was undertaken to think through the entire weapon system (detection to target kill) into which a specific technology development might fit and the estimated performance and cost parameter ranges that would make the technology acceptable. This was particularly true for systems that in the future will of necessity rely on distributed sensors and data communications. The committee believes that a significant portion of the ASWT program should be devoted to the exploration of new system concepts as a basis for identifying the system concept and components that will allow the deployment of long-range weapons that can be launched from platforms outside the range of hostile defensive weapons, and that will deliver sufficient warhead yield3 and have the necessary precision of delivery to allow the employment of unitary warheads that can engage hardened point targets. The committee also believes that ONR should perform systems studies to ensure that the weapons systems context in which it develops new technology is understood. Specifically the committee believes that more attention should be devoted to the following: Problems of targeting and interplatform communications; Specific weapons and weapons systems designed to reduce some acknowledged naval deficiencies such as attack of relocatable, moving, and ephemeral targets; and The synergistic relationship between surface-to-surface weaponry (Dahlgren) and air-to-surface weaponry (China Lake), not what the unique contributions, limitations (e.g., the fundamental physical limitations on gun-fired projectiles), or deficiencies of each were. Although the committee was disappointed that fundamental issues relating to navigation assurance for weapons and weapons systems are de-emphasized in future ONR funding cycles because they are not one of the future naval capability “spikes,” the committee recognizes that navigation assurance is receiving major attention by other organizations. The committee is cognizant of the fact that improvements to the robustness of the GPS (space component, waveform, and so on), sponsored from ONR's limited resources, would not add significantly to the remediation of this problem. However, in light of recent Defense Science Board and Naval Research Advisory Committee studies4–6 that indicated the 3    The lethality of a weapon depends on warhead yield (or weight W) and miss distance R. In recent years, the thrust of weapon design has concentrated on improvements to reducing R; however, for many targets W cannot be decreased. The committee believes that, in this respect, ERGM is a bad design compromise. With an approximate warhead weight of 10 kilograms and a delivery accuracy of approximately 20 to 30 meters, the designers have elected to use a submunitions payload that is ineffective against moving targets or bunkers and concrete structures. As a substitute for Marine Corps artillery to support engaged marines, it will have serious limitations since both R and W need improvement. Improving R will require advancements to the inertial navigation system, control authority, and control surfaces. Improving W will require better yield from the explosive (ONR's approach) and more payload volume. The latter requires a weapon of greater diameter, essentially a new weapon. 4    Defense Science Board. 1995. Global Positioning System, Phase I. Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition and Technology), Washington, D.C. 5    Defense Science Board. 1997. Global Positioning System, Phase II. Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition and Technology), Washington, D.C. 6    Naval Research Advisory Committee. GPS Vulnerabilities (Draft). Department of the Navy, Arlington, Virginia, forth-coming fall of 1999.

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1999 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program vulnerability of basing U.S. weapon delivery methods largely on the GPS, ONR might consider initiating more extensive efforts toward the development of alternatives to the GPS to negate the drawback of GPS jamming. Thus, consideration might be given to terrain-aided navigation or to development of some of the novel techniques that were proposed in these reports. The ASWT supporting S&T (6.1 and 6.2) work does not address weapons-relevant research topics such as enhanced control authority of guidance surfaces to improve delivery accuracy, efficient data links for target redirection and report, and ultralow-drift/low-cost inertial navigation system (INS) units. The committee though that the 6.1 and 6.2 effort was too heavily oriented toward the functioning of an array of unmanned autonomous air vehicles. This effort does not give evidence of sufficient familiarity and involvement with work done by other organizations. In the intelligent air vehicles. 6.1 area, although the principal investigators are well-known and competent members of the research community, the research does not appear to be at the forefront of technology. The committee believes that the number of projects in the intelligent air vehicles and uninhabited combat air vehicles (UCAVs) areas should be reduced, the surviving 6.1 work subjected to closer scrutiny for scientific merit, and then the ASWT supporting S&T program areas redirected toward closer coupling to other important needs of the ASWT program. Other Issues The suggestions and recommendations of the 1996 BOV review group7 were read by the committee so that it could see the degree to which ONR had responded to those recommendations (see quoted material below). The BOV's statements and this committee's assessment of ONR's response follow: “Little insight into project selection and program strategy.” This committee believes that in the current review, ONR did provide some insight into its strategy for selecting projects and program components. The focus, however, was mainly methodological, and the committee used its own judgment based on its expertise—naval operations, systems, and technology—to identify concerns and develop conclusions and recommendations in the specific areas presented. “System trade studies need to be communicated.” This criticism is still valid today. This committee believes that ONR must perform some top-down system designs to determine how to fit 6.2 and 6.3 program components into a weapon system architecture. “In spite of balance between S&T, work sounded evolutionary in nature. Focus appeared on short-term needs working old problems.” This committee believes that these observations are still valid. Stovepipe solutions rather than work relating to new operational concepts dominated the effort. “Technology leveraging and connections to other services and IR&Do not evident.” The committee believes that in general the ONR ASWT program has made an attempt to leverage work by other organizations and by industry IR&D. However, in some areas the ONR ASWT program does not seem to be as knowledgeable about and, hence leveraging, work done by other organizations as this committee believes it should be. 7    Comments and suggestions by the BOV were included in the ASWT program triennial departmental review. Briefing to the Committee on the Review of ONR's Air and Surface Weaponry Program by Mr. David Seigel of ONR, May 26, 1999.

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1999 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program “Little indication of direct contact with customers, working on real needs.” The committee believes that ONR now maintains adequate contact with customers and, for the most part, works on real needs. The above comments on the ONR ASWT program taking into account the previous review group's recommendations are not inclusive. The previous group also made additional comments on topics that this committee did not review. No comments are made in this report about these issues.