The Future of Warfare: Small, Many, Smart vs. Few & Exquisite? - War on the Rocks


In the 1970s, faced with the USSR's overwhelming superiority in numbers, the Department of Defense decided to compensate by focusing on high technology platforms. This led to the highly successful F-15, F-16, F-18, Abrams tanks, and Bradley fighting vehicles. Since then, the United States has continued to pursue cutting edge technology that has resulted in the highly capable F-22 and, when the testing and software development is complete, perhaps a highly capable F-35. Unfortunately, cost has accelerated faster than capabilities. And thus numbers have declined precipitously. The U.S. Air Force initially planned to buy 750 F-22s, but the high cost led Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to cap the program at 187. Nor has the Air Force been alone in pursuing top end systems. The Navy attempted an entirely new concept with "Streetfighter." Meant to be a low-cost, highly capable ship to replace the Navy's frigates and minesweepers for operations in brown water, it evolved into the Littoral Combat Ship.

Navy's Budget Requests Two Huge Missile-Laden Drone Ships That Displace 2,000 Tons


The Navy has previously said the LDUSVs might fill the role of "arsenal ships" packed with stand-off missiles to provide additional firepower for a surface task force. Rear Admiral Crites said that a vertical launch system capability would be one requirement for the LDUSV. Crites comment that these ships will also be "sensors" indicates that they could also pack capable and diverse sensors suites, potentially including those not necessary found on manned ships. Doing so would offer commanders increased situational awareness across a broad front. The Navy over-arching unmanned surface vessel plan has three tiers – small, medium, and large – and the service has been very clear in the past that it expected the medium-sized types to fill the requirement for unmanned scouts operating ahead of larger surface action groups.

Boeing developing a fleet of massive robo-submarines for the US Navy that could hit the seas by 2022

Daily Mail

The US Navy has selected Boeing to develop a fleet of massive drone submarines under a $43 million new contract. Over the next few years, the firm will design and test four Orca Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (XLUUVs) based on its autonomous Echo Voyager, which can operate at sea for months at a time. The robotic submarines will be modular, meaning they can easily adapted in the future to implement'cost-effective upgrades' and support a variety of missions. Boeing is expected to complete the vehicles by June 2022. Boeing has been chosen to develop four drone submarines, called Orca Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (XLUUVs), for the US Navy.

Navy builds new massive undersea attack drones


The Navy has taken several new steps in its development of several large underwater drones designed to conduct undersea reconnaissance, search for and destroy mines, and possibly launch attacks. The Navy has taken several new steps in its development of several large underwater drones designed to conduct undersea reconnaissance, share combat essential data with submarine "motherships," search for and destroy mines and - in some cases - launch attacks on enemy surface and undersea vessels The two new undersea drones, to be configured with advanced sensors and weapons, are called the Orca Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV) and the Large Diameter Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV). "These will help consolidate Navy vision to bring UUVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles) and USVs (Unmanned Surface Vessels) to the fleet, and integrate them with surface vessels and submarines," Capt. Pete Small, Program Manager for Unmanned Systems, said recently at the Surface Navy Association. The construction strategy, according to developers, is to engineer a new "upgradeable," multi-mission drone able to quickly integrate new technology and payloads as they emerge.

Drone weapons the future of underwater warfare


Naval technology is developing so rapidly that Australia's new $50 billion fleet of submarines may one day have to face deadly underwater drones, an expert has warned. Earlier this month, the federal government announced the signing of the Attack class submarine Strategic Partnering Agreement with French shipbuilder Naval Group. It will build 12 attack submarines to replace the Royal Australian Navy's ageing Collins class vessels, with the first one scheduled to be delivered in the early 2030s, the federal government said. But Russia has already provided a glimpse of underwater autonomous – or drone - weaponry. The Russian Ministry of Defence released testing footage of its'Poseidon' – a high-speed nuclear torpedo.

Maritime autonomous surface ships on the horizon


Gard's mission is: Together we enable sustainable maritime development. To deliver on this mission, we explore and support the development of emerging technologies including maritime autonomous surface ships. The Nordic countries are leading the way in this area and we are proud to be collaborating with Yara International (Yara) and their newly established company Yara Birkeland AS that is developing the well-known Norwegian autonomous logistics project, YARA BIRKELAND. Construction of the zero-emission autonomous containership has already begun. When the ship enters service in early 2020, she will be operated by onboard crew while the autonomous systems are being tested and certified safe.

Sonar drone discovers long-lost WWII aircraft carrier USS Hornet


The late Paul Allen's research vessel, the Petrel, has found another historic warship at the bottom of the ocean. In the wake of an initial discovery in late January, the expedition crew has confirmed that it found the USS Hornet, an aircraft carrier that played a pivotal role in WWII through moments like the Doolittle Raid on Japan and the pivotal Battle of Midway. It was considered lost when it sank at the Battle of Santa Cruz in October 1943, but modern technology spotted it nearly 17,500 feet below the surface of the South Pacific Ocean, near the Solomon Islands. The team initially narrowed down its search area by using data from the era, such as action reports and deck logs from other ships involved in the Santa Cruz fight. From there, tech took over.

The US plans to launch swarms of attack drones from robo-submarines

New Scientist

Individually, these drones can't do much damage, but as a swarm they are hard to defend against. They can carry explosives or electronic jammers capable of knocking out a radar system or other sensors. This is the plan for LOCUST, the US Navy's low-cost, swarming technology, which has just been revealed in Pentagon documents.

Navy builds two new large surface attack drone ships

FOX News

DARPA Image of a drone ship vessel called Sea Hunter, which is not the new LUSV/MUSV. Those do not exist yet. The Navy is building two new large drone ships to coordinate synchronized attacks, perform command and control across fleets of Unmanned Surface Vessels and conduct high-risk maritime missions such as anti-submarine operations, mine countermeasures, surface warfare, and forward-deployed surveillance. The new vessels, now in early stages of conceptual development, are intended to perform both manned and unmanned operations while networked to a smaller fleet of multi-mission USVs, Capt. Pete Small, Program Manager, Unmanned Maritime Systems, Naval Sea Systems Command, told reporters at the Surface Naval Association Symposium.

US sends warships to Taiwan Strait as Taipei unveils new drone

Al Jazeera

For the first time this year, the United States has sent two warships through the strategic Taiwan Strait, according to the Taiwanese government. The move risks further heightening tensions with China, which considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has not ruled out the use of force to bring the self-ruled island under its control. It is also likely to be viewed in Taiwan as a sign of support from US President Donald Trump's administration amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing. Taiwan's defence ministry said in a statement late on Thursday the US ships were moving in a northerly direction and that their voyage was in accordance with regulations. It added that Taiwan closely monitored the operation to "ensure the security of the seas and regional stability".