Elbit Systems of America (Elbit America) has been awarded a prime contract by the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific (NIWC Pacific) to develop and demonstrate an autonomous maritime target tracking capability as part of the United States Navy’s Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP).
Elbit America’s autonomy prototype will extend the reach of those forces by leveraging attritable systems to covertly find, fix and track maritime targets … I keep reading about the Navy’s pursuit of systems like this (Sea Hunter, Saildrone, Mantas, etc.) and they all have a few common characteristics: they’re small and they’re useless for the claimed task of persistent, survivable surveillance.
Despite these obvious limitations, the Navy apparently believes that this small boat with small, short range sensors is going to roam the oceans, finding all the enemy's assets ... a miracle of surveillance. Not only that, but the Navy believes that this drone will operate in contested waters. Just out of curiosity, how will this tiny drone get to the contested operating area? It's certainly not going to cross an ocean unattended. Will it be carried by a cargo or amphibious vessel? I guess the Chinese won't see that any more than they'll see the Marine's large, slow, non-stealthy, Light Amphibious Warfare (LAW) ship, right? But, I digress. Let's just hand wave that concern away and move on.
Why are we pursing a small, limited endurance, low power, short sensor range boat? Other than pursing unmanned technology for its own sake, there’s no use for such a boat.Bafflingly, we continue to throw money at concepts that have no practical combat application. If it doesn’t benefit our naval combat capability we shouldn’t be wasting time, money, and resources on it. Everything we do should have to pass through the filter of, ‘how does this enhance our combat capability?’. If it can’t pass the filter, we shouldn’t pursue it. This doesn’t pass.
… the ship successfully launched a Rolling Airframe Missile (SeaRAM) during an at-sea, live-fire exercise … 
deployed, Charleston was embarked with the Naval Strike Missile … “We do have a typical load-out that we
maintain throughout the deployment,” Knuth [Cmdr. Matthew Knuth, gold crew
commanding officer] said of the NSM. “That said, we did not do any live fire
testing of the missile.”
It has a 18,000 LT lifting capacity and a clear deck working area of 90,800 square feet. The craft has an overall length of 694 feet, overall pontoon breadth of 157 feet, and a height of 65 feet from baseline to wing deck.
|Dry Dock AFDM-5 Resourceful|
Built 1943, sunk in Subic Bay 2018
Now, build another ten or fifteen of these and the Navy will
have taken a legitimate step forward in ship maintenance and repair!
“Will losses of high end radiating sensors or reluctance to use them bring us back to aircraft that fight primarily with passive E/O [electro-optical] sensors?”As the anonymous commenter noted, ComNavOps has often stated that ships in combat will not radiate (EMCON) until an attack is actually incoming. To do otherwise betrays one’s own location and invites destruction. We have passive electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) sensors but we need to fully develop them into a complete, hemispherical sensor system (with extensive redundancy, of course!) that is fully integrated into the ship’s combat software system. In other words, we need to be able to scan, detect, identify, track, and establish firing solutions/fire control using purely passive sensors just as we now do with radar [question: how will we provide guidance for missiles requiring illumination?].
The Department of Defense (DOD) has worked for more than 2 decades to modernize GPS with a more jam-resistant, military-specific signal known as M-code. Space Force, part of the Department of the Air Force, is responsible for GPS modernization.
M-code is a stronger, encrypted, military-specific GPS signal designed to meet military PNT [Positioning, Navigation, Timing] information needs. M-code will help military users overcome attempts to block the GPS signal, known as jamming, by using a more powerful signal with a broader radio frequency range. It will also protect against false GPS signals, known as spoofing, by encrypting the signal.The military appears to have a requirement for 27 GPS satellites.
Space Force met its approved requirement for 24 M-code-capable satellites on orbit, but determined that it needs at least three more to meet certain user requirements for accuracy. Building and maintaining this larger constellation presents a challenge. GAO’s analysis indicates it is not likely that 27 satellites will be available on a consistent basis over the next decade. Unless the Air Force assesses its operational need for satellites to establish a firm requirement for a 27-satellite constellation, other DOD efforts could take priority, leaving the warfighter with GPS user equipment performing below the required capability levels.
The first satellite able to transmit the M-code signal entered orbit in 2005 and 25 of the 31 satellites in the GPS constellation are M-code capable.One of the [many] challenges is procuring and equipping the military with untold thousands of M-code capable receivers.
Eventually, the total number of GPS receivers purchased by the DOD could number up to 1 million.One of the challenges with ‘hardening’ the GPS system is that it has multiple nodes/links that can be disrupted: ground control (cyber attacks), software (cyber attacks), satellites (disruption/destruction), ground receivers (cyber attack, spoofing, jamming, physical destruction), and the signal itself (jamming, spoofing). Each node is vulnerable to disruption by a variety of means.
The contractor, Raytheon, faced unanticipated challenges during the software qualification testing of OCX [ed. operational control system] in 2022. … Raytheon discovered more deficiencies than anticipated during subsequent software qualification testing. These deficiencies included errors uploading navigation data to satellites in a simulated environment. The ability to upload this data is an essential function of the ground control system. As of September 2022, approximately 50 percent of software passed testing, lower than the program’s goal of 80 percent.
China is progressing with the development of missiles and electronic weapons that could target satellites in low and high orbits, the Pentagon says in a new report released Sept. 1 [ed. 2020].
China already has operational ground-based missiles that can hit satellites in low-Earth orbit and “probably intends to pursue additional ASAT weapons capable of destroying satellites up to geosynchronous Earth orbit,” says the Defense Department’s annual report to Congress on China’s military capabilities.Cyber Attacks – China (and other actors) are demonstrating an ability to penetrate military networks on a near daily basis. There is no reason to believe that when war comes, cyber attacks won’t continue and, likely, increase in frequency and intensity. Presumably, China has identified vulnerabilities in our networks and software that it is keeping ‘in reserve’ for wartime use.
|16" Battleship AP Shell Cutaway|
|16" Battleship HC (HE) Shell Diagram - note the shell wall thickness of 3+ inches|
|Mk 82 Bomb Cutaway - note the reduced wall thickness compared to a naval shell|
The High Capacity (HC) [16”] shell can create a crater 50 feet wide and 20 feet deep (15 x 6 m). During her deployment off Vietnam, USS New Jersey (BB-62) occasionally fired a single HC round into the jungle and so created a helicopter landing zone 200 yards (180 m) in diameter and defoliated trees for 300 yards (270 m) beyond that.
“The crater from a 500-lb. bomb with impact fuze (e.g., MK 82) is typically 30 feet in diameter and 15 feet deep (this obviously varies greatly with the terrain)” (Doleman Jr., Edgar C., 1984. Tools of War. Boston Publishing Company, Boston) ; note: this quote is unverified by me but the book exists and there is no reason to doubt it
A conventional 155mm artillery high explosive (HE) shell often produce a crater about 1.2–1.5 meters deep and 4–5 meters wide (4). The M114 howitzer of WWII used an HE shell with around 15 lb of explosive. The modern 155 mm M795 shell has around 24 lbs of explosive.
A 16-inch (406 mm) shell fired from an Iowa class battleship created a crater about 6 meters deep and 15 meters wide (4)