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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 7 of 35 6 | May 2016 | Armor & Mobility | Unmanned Tech Solutions Naval Weapons Unmanned Innovation building this future f leet, fully integrated, with manned and unmanned portions. There's one other area we get into which is this notion of rapidly innovating. So I talk about current areas of the program that we focus in, and the other big part that we're charged with is this notion of rapid prototyping. We have a Rapid Prototyping Development cycle (RP+D), and it's looking at how we build an investment strategy that optimizes resources, matching technologies that are maturing to f leet needs. Then you prototype these, demonstrate and all inside a two-year cycle. At the end of that two-year period you make a decision whether you want to refine the idea of the concept further, acquire it, or even terminate it. Maybe it didn't even work out. But the idea is that it's a disciplined process that you move through quickly, looking at the right technologies, matching them to f leet needs, rapidly prototyping them and getting them out to the f leet's hands. As you're doing a demonstration of prototyping, a big part of that is building concepts of operation as well. So that's the whole enchilada of what we're in charge of here at N99. UTS: From a Navy perspective, please speak to primary systems application areas and the way N99 is working to streamline prototype to implementation. RADM Girrier: So, I'll pick up where I left off on that cycle I was talking about, that rapid innovation cycle. A new funding line was given to us to put those resources toward those two- year projects. And in the end, to use resource parlance, our funding line is called a "6.4 funding line." And that's an area of advanced component development and prototyping, so for those who are knowledgeable into how we think about resources, that's in the 6.4 bin; I won't get into any more detail than that for that particular aspect, but that's the pot of money, the resourcing that we are going to use in this rapid innovation development process. Let me talk also about how we think about where to invest, and again this is all in the context of unmanned. We focus on payloads, the payloads over vehicles and platforms. It takes a decade to build platforms, and that's a fact. They're very advanced and complex, whether it's submarines, aircraft carriers, ships. And then think about how it takes years to build vehicles. But payloads, you can build them, evolve and develop them in months. We focus our efforts on payloads and repurposed vehicles. We'll be doing a different mission or similar type of payload on a vehicle and then hosted on a platform. You have to think through that logic; there's a speed and you have to focus on that, and that is a really sweet spot. So we're always thinking about effective payload capabilities, and we're also thinking about how we can disrupt effects change in an adversary's process, so we're being very thoughtful in how you can apply these capabilities because the technology is increasing. It's like apps that are evolving quickly, so you have base systems and operating systems that are out there, platforms and vehicles and there's goodness and speed for sure. We go out to the Fleet and then we ask them what their needs are, and there's a variety of methods of doing that. We then work on surveying the landscape, relevant technology, and concepts. For this process, we work very closely with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Nav y for Unmanned Systems (DASN Unmanned). We also work with the Assistant Secretary of the Nav y for Research, Development, Technology and Experimentation (RDT&E). That's the office that goes out there and surveys the landscape of relevant technologies. Then together in partnership with those two offices, we systematically match those rightful technologies so they have effective capacity. UTS: In what way(s) is N99 partnering with industry to adjust current policies and requirements to maximize existing unmanned application processes, as well as streamline development for new operational concepts? RADM Girrier: So we talked about how you survey the landscape. Whose landscape? We're partnering with government, industry, academia, our allies, to leverage the best research, development, expertise, technologies and capabilities that are out there. By combining our resources and abilities, we think we can get much better capability quicker. So N99 is structured to support the Nav y, short- and long-term unmanned goals by streamlining these efforts again and again. We work very closely with DASN Unmanned and ASN RDT&E, and what they bring for us is our ability to really tap into the naval research and development establishment and that includes our warfare centers. And linked within, it includes Office of Naval Research (ONR), and industry is accessible in those areas. It also includes the Defense Innovation Unit; we stood that up last summer, Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUX); another avenue to get visibility on what industry is doing. So think of our close-knit process to make routine, not ad hoc. It's systematic, partnering with those two deputy secretaries and that entire naval research and development establishment, which cross-connects with industry and ONR, DIUX, so you're getting a really broad spread on what covers Rear Adm. Robert Girrier, director, unmanned warfare systems, discusses the Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) Sea Hunter, an entirely new class of unmanned ocean-going vessel during a ceremony held in Portland, Oregon. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in conjunction with the Offce of Naval Research (ONR) is working to fully test the capabilities of the vessel which is able to travel thousands of miles over the open seas for months at a time without a crew, and with a high degree of autonomy in operation. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Amber Lynn Daniel/Released)

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Armor & Mobility - MAY 2016