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New Marine Aviation Plan Pushes Digital

Article by: Mallory Shelbourne - USNI News


THE PENTAGON — Key to Marines’ latest aviation plan is using the service’s aircraft to keep small units spread across small islands in the Western Pacific connected through a digital interoperability as it continues its modernization efforts for a lighter, more mobile force.

Following the initial iterations of the Force Design 2030 effort to modernize the service for its island-hopping strategy in regions like the Indo-Pacific, the Marine Corps has a plan to apply those modernization initiatives to aviation with digital links front and center.

“With respect to some of the changes you’ve seen … Force Design 2030 really drove a lot of them. And it also drove the reason why we took a couple of years off, as we started to make some adjustments in order to make sure we were articulating what Force Design was from the aviation perspective,” Lt. Gen. Mark Wise, the Marine Corps deputy commandant for aviation, told reporters on Monday. “And we put that into the programmatic speak of the document itself so that as it came out, it’s as good as the day that it was signed. But things are going to evolve over time and I would expect there would be some changes to next year as we go on, as there are almost every year with a programmatic document like this.”

Wise described his vision for digital interoperability as the “ability to build our own network locally in order to push information to that squad leader, platoon leader, that’s inside the aircraft on his way to a target area. And he’s actually getting real-time [situational awareness] as to what’s happening.”


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Navy Wants to Buy Two Arleigh Burkes a Year While Developing DDG(C) Concept

By: Mallory Shelbourne

February 2, 2022 6:56 PM • Updated: February 5, 2022 11:14 AM

The Navy is committed to buying two Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers per year in tandem with developing its new DDG(X) program, the top surface warfare requirements officer said Wednesday.

While the first priority for the Navy’s surface warfare division director on the chief of naval operations’ staff (OPNAV N96) is delivering the Arleigh Burke-class Flight III destroyers on time, the second priority is seeking a two-per-year cadence for large surface combatants.

“My next priority is related to the first and that is to budget for and build two large surface combatants a year, at a minimum. Two ships a year with a 35 to 40-year service life results in an objective force of 70 to 80 large surface combatants in our navy,” Rear Adm. Paul Schlise said during a speech at a symposium hosted by the American Society of Naval Engineers.

“And two ships a year provides the Navy with the multi-domain dominance it needs to support the security and prosperity of the United States and it ensures the health of our large shipbuilding industrial base, something that I cannot stress enough,” he added. “Strategic competition requires industrial might and we must take steps to ensure this capability is sustained.”

Schlise’s remarks come ahead of the Fiscal Year 2023 budget submission, which is expected to include another multi-year procurement plan for the Navy’s Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

“As N96, I will continue to make the case for our surface shipbuilding priorities to include two large surface combatants a year,” Schlise said today. “And we need to transition from Flight IIIs to DDG(X).”

Schlise described the Flight III destroyers as a “bridge” to DDG(X), and echoed the Navy’s position that it needs a new hull for the future destroyer program because there is no margin left to add new systems to the Arleigh Burke hull.

Jack Lucas and the Flight IIIs that follow are going to be incredibly capable ships and they will pack considerable combat punch, but they are a bridge to the future. They are not the future itself,” Schlise said. “While they represent a superb effort by the shipyards, the acquisition community, and the design and engineering community to fit as much capability as possible within the DDG-51 hull form, there simply isn’t any more margin for growth. Remember, this hull was designed in the 80s.”

The Navy wants the DDG(X) platform to fire both hypersonic weapon and lasers more powerful than what the service currently fields and is planning for margins that would allow it to upgrade systems, USNI News reported last month.

“With DDG(X), we’re designing in margins – space, weight, power and cooling, or SWaP-C – to accommodate future capabilities, capabilities that are under development today and whose will be proven through intense land-based testing and on other platforms already in service,” Schlise told the ASNE symposium. “Were we to wait on full maturation of every one of these future capabilities, we might not be bending metal on DDG(X) for decades, and we’d be marking time while our adversaries move forward.”

“DDG(X) is a culmination of lessons learned from past programs,” he continued. “Rather than tying the success of DDG(X) to developmental technology, we’re using known, mature technologies on a flexible platform that can be upgraded for decades to come, as the technology of tomorrow becomes more proven and mature. This is an evolutionary ship, not revolutionary.”

While making the case for the two-per-year destroyer cadence, Schlise referred to recent remarks from Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), who sits on the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee. Gallagher, a former Marine, called for the Navy to ask for two large surface combatants a year for a decade as the service shifts from the Flight III destroyers to DDG(X).

“So what I propose is the department should commit to funding two large surface combatants a year for – let’s say 10 years – during which the transition from Flight III … to DDG(X) occurs,” Gallagher told the Surface Navy Association’s annual symposium last month. “Congress in turn will commit to fully funding the DDG(X) program and from there, the Navy will need to provide a plan to both Congress and industry to move forward from two Flight IIIs per year to two DDG(X)s per year over a three to five year transition. I know that the next-gen DDG won’t be online for a 2020s fight, but my point here is you can build a battle force 2025 without neglecting our longer-term modernization priorities.”



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Indo-Pacific Training Exercise


PHILIPPINE SEA – Aircraft assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, CVW 9 and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) fly over the Philippine Sea as Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson (CNV70) and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), JMSDF Hyuga-class helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181), America-class amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA6), Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Mobile Bay (CG 53 and USS Lake Champlain (CG 57, and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance (DDG 111), USS Chafee (DDG 90) and USS Gridley (DDG 101) transit the Philippine Sea, January 22, 2022.  Operating as part of U.S. Pacific Fleet, units assigned to carl Vinson and Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Groups, America, and Essex Amphibious Ready Groups, alongside JMSDF are conducing training to preserve and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Haydn N. Smith).


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Huntington Ingalls Expected to Deliver LPD-28, DDG-123 This Year

Huntington Ingalls Industries is expected to deliver Fort Lauderdale (LPD-28) in the first half of 2022, the company announced during a press briefing Wednesday.

Fort Lauderdale finished her Bravo trials at the end of 2021, said George Nungesser, vice president, program management for Ingalls Shipbuilding. The ship was christened in August and is the 12th San Antonio-class ship produced by the shipbuilding company.

As Huntington Ingalls finishes with Fort Lauderdale, it has already started outfitting Richard M. McCool (LPD-29), which launched this week, Nungesser said. The ship is the 13th in the San Antonio-class and is expected to be delivered in late 2023.

The shipbuilder is also working on Harrisburg (LPD-30) and is contracted for Pittsburgh (LPD-31), said LPD program manager Steve Sloan.

Ingalls also delivered the 33rd Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer to the Navy. It delivered Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG-121) on Nov. 30.

There are five destroyers under construction currently, Nungesser said, including the future Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG-123), expected to be delivered in 2022. Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee is the last Flight IIA, Nungesser said. The other four destroyers are Flight III DDGs.

The first Flight III destroyer, Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125), has already launched, he said.
Start of construction to delivery date, which Huntington Ingalls plans to meet, is 232 weeks for the Flight IIIs, Nungesser said.

While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused supply chain concerns, Huntington Ingalls has been able to mitigate any major disruptions, Nungesser said.

Looking to the future, Sloan said it is important to see the funding for LPD-32, as well as some predictability for the LHA-10. Huntington Ingalls is already under contract for LHA-9.

It would be nice to have a 30-year plan for shipbuilding from the Navy, Sloan said, adding that it has been some time since there has been a long-term plan. The Navy is expected to give a plan shortly, and Sloan expects to see amphibious assault ships in it.

Article from: USNI News

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