Armor & Mobility

MAY 2016

Military magazines in the United States and Canada, covering Armor and Mobility, focuses on tactical vehicles, C4ISR, Special Operations Forces, latest soldier equipment, shelters, and key DoD programs

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tacticaldefensemedia.com Unmanned Tech Solutions | Armor & Mobility | May 2016 | 5 Naval Weapons Unmanned Innovation Unmanned Tech Solutions had the pleasure of speaking with RADM Robert Girrier, Director of the Unmanned Warfare Systems (OPNAV N99), Washington, DC, regarding efforts to accelerate capabilities and feld advanced unmanned systems technologies for use across the DoD. Interview conducted by UTS Editor Scott Sharon UTS: Please provide a brief background on N99 Unmanned Weapons Directorate; i.e. when it was stood up, primary focus areas, etc. RADM Girrier: Sure, happy to talk about that. We were stood up in mid-September of 2015, so as I said we're into month 6-plus here as we move along. This OPNAV Staff Realignment was intended to increase the rapidity and success of getting unmanned concepts to the warfighter, exploring warfighting concepts and getting rapid feedback from the Fleet into the acquisition cycle. Think about it as the office being stood up to really focus on this cycle. Unmanned warfare systems are a rapidly expanding field in this business. It's definitely a force- multiplier for our Navy and in every domain, as well as in the militaries of our near-peer and our would-be adversaries. This is happening all around us, so it was the right thing to do and the right time to do it to maintain our warfighting edge, given the highly pressurized nature of recent budget cycles, but even beside that, there's always going to be something to think about and to factor in. It's prudent to resource unmanned systems across all the domains. When I say domains, I'm talking about air, surface, undersea, and it's the best use of our resources. When you think about that, it helps us make ground toward a future that sees a fully integrated unmanned and manned f leet. As we organized our vision, our focus area is for OPNAV N99; we are looking for big bins. One is battlespace awareness, ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconaissance) in the air, on and under the sea and on the ground, that's one big area of focus. The second area is force application, whether that's air-to-air, or air-to-ground combat, or electronic warfare, suppression or destruction of enemy air defenses, mine laying, neutralizations, all those various disciplines are the second bin of unmanned systems helping us do what we do. The third area is force protection, preventing attacks, ordnance disposal, that whole area. Logistics is the final area; our capability to deploy, to distribute, and to supply Navy forces in all domains. So those are the initial warfare focus areas; it's not all inclusive but those are the four main bins. Those are consistent with how DoD at large sees them. They have an unmanned systems integrated roadmap and they think along those same four lines. As I talk a little more about the programs we're in charge of at N99, there are three things I want to talk about. One is the MQ-XX which is the unmanned carrier-based capability; think of that as being an unmanned system operating from a carrier. It is just a tremendous capability that we're pursuing. The other program is the large displacement of unmanned undersea vehicle, LDUUV. And then the third area, which you don't hear so much about this but it's very, very important, is called Common Control Systems (CCS). When we talk about CCS, think software. Think about a common way of talking to unmanned systems, whether they are air systems, surface systems or undersea systems. That's a really important one. The first two programs that I had mentioned, the MQ-XX and the LDUVV, we'll be in charge of those up until what we call a "milestone B". And that's acquisition terminology for a certain place in the life of a program where the risk has been mitigated. You start to get into production rates and so forth. We shepherd these programs up until that milestone B, and then they will be transferred over to a more traditional source sponsor, whomever that will be. That will be a new leadership decision. But the one I mentioned, the CCS, we'll always keep that one, and the reason why we don't transfer that to someone else is because it's going to be common to all unmanned systems as we move forward. And that's a very important fact, so again think of us an incubator for these programs. But also think of us as the owner and champion of that Common Control System as we look into FROM CONCEPT TO FORCE PROJECTION

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