JED - October 2010 - (Page 58)
Is the United States Navy making sound investments in surface ship electronic warfare (EW)? Several pieces of evidence have recently shown that the US Navy over the past two decades may have not made the best decisions with regard to sustaining and maximizing the in-service life of its surface fleet, including neglecting improvements in shipboard EW.
Over the past several years, most of the Congressional support for the surface fleet has focused on the highly technical Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) capability and how this system plays into future roles of protecting Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and other key US allies around the world. Yet this is a good example of not making the best investments for the surface navy. The key element of BMD is the SPY-1 radar, which has statistically been degrading over the past few years. The funding needed to maintain the SPY radar and other AEGIS combat system components has not been available to the commanding officers of our surface combatants. In addition, manning is down in technically specific rates, such as CT’s and FC’s, which greatly impacts the ship’s ability to perform key missions, and training has been reduced or eliminated for many of our sailors. The way ahead is to upgrade all of the Navy’s shipboard combat systems, not just AEGIS or BMD. Other Navies have found ways to balance their layered defense to in-
clude more technologically advanced EW suites, more capable trainable launchers and modern decoys. As a retired US Navy Surface Warfare Officer, my point is not to demean or downplay AEGIS or BMD. In fact, my goal is just the opposite – to promote a robust and maintained layered defense capability, of which, AEGIS and BMD are absolutely crucial elements. In addition to AEGIS and BMD, an overall improved EW system, which at a minimum includes more capable decoys and a trainable launcher, is essential to ensure a robust defense capability for our surface combatants.
THE LITTORAL ENVIRONMENT
While the Navy has consistently devoted defense dollars to BMD and its associated technologies, it has invested relatively little funding in recent years
to improve ship self-defense or, more importantly, Carrier Strike Group Defense. Unfortunately, the millions of dollars invested in BMD do nothing for the selfdefense of the ship or strike group operating today. In fact, ship self-defense is arguably as important as BMD from a holistic perspective. If a specific ship conducting a BMD mission suffers battle damage, that ship’s ability to conduct BMD (or any other mission for that matter) is most certainly lost or at a minimum degraded. As we look at ship self-defense, today’s ships and sailors find themselves in a much different role than in the past. The Navy is now operating more often in “brown water” or littoral environments. While the new Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs) are designed for these missions, our CG’s, DDG’s and FFG’s were not. Yet
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - October 2010
JED - October 2010
The View From Here
From the Presidents
What’s Next in IED Jammers?
Electronic Warfare in Today’s Surface Navy
ELINT Receivers Tackle Dense Signal Environments
A Structural View of EM Spectrum Warfare
AOC 2010 Award Winners
JED Sales Offices
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look
JED - October 2010