a. (U) This Mission Need Statement (MNS) provides requirements for tactical aviation (TACAIR) sea-based platforms for the 21st century. It addresses the Department of Defense "Defense Planning Guidance, FY-1997-2001," dated 9 May 1995, requiring the United States to:

(U) "... require the best equipped, best trained and best prepared military forces..." (p.1)

(U) "The primary mission of United States military forces has always been, and will continue to be, to protect the nation from direct threats and to deter, and, if necessary, fight and win the nation's wars.... deter and, if required decisively defeat aggression by projecting and sustaining U.S. power in two nearly simultaneous major regional conflicts (MRC);... Some U.S. forces must be forward-deployed or stationed in key overseas regions in peacetime... This demands highly qualified and motivated people, modern, well maintained equipment, viable joint doctrine, realistic training, strategic mobility and sufficient support and sustainment capabilities." (p.4&5)


b. (U) This MNS should guide the 21st century TACAIR sea-based platform design, research, development and acquisition program decisions, service and joint doctrine, and cooperative efforts with U.S. allies.


a. (U) Mission. The general missions of TACAIR sea-based platforms are to:

(1) (U) provide credible, sustainable, independent forward presence during peace time without access to land bases,

(2) (U) operate as the cornerstone of a joint and/or allied maritime expeditionary force in response to crises, and

(3) (U) carry the war to the enemy through joint multi-mission offensive operations by;

(a) (U) being able to operate and support aircraft in attacks on enemy forces ashore, afloat, or submerged independent of forward-base land facilities,

(b) (U) protecting friendly forces from enemy attack, through the establishment and maintenance of battlespace dominance independent of forward-based land facilities, and

(c) (U) engaging in sustained operations in support of the United States and its Allies independent of forward-based land facilities.

b. (U) Capabilities. The primary function of the 21st century TACAIR sea-based platform is to shelter, transport, launch, recover and maintain multi-mission tactical aircraft and tactical airborne systems suitable for sea-based operations. The core capabilities required for this platform to perform the above missions include:

(1) (U) strategic mobility - it must have the ability to independently deploy/respond quickly and operate with sufficient tactical flexibility, whenever and wherever required, to enable joint maritime expeditionary force operations.

(2) (U) sustainability - it must have the capacity to sustain itself, its aircraft and escort for extended periods without access to shore facilities.

(3) (U) survivability - it must be able to operate aircraft in hostile environments, protect itself from attack by threat weapons, and if hit, degrade gracefully and survive.

(4) (U) ability to deliver precise, high-volume firepower - it must be able to operate sufficient numbers of tactical aircraft, and carry sufficient ordnance and fuel to conduct simultaneous power projection, battle space dominance and surveillance operations for extended periods. It must provide tactical air support to the Joint Force Commander.

(5) (U) joint command and control - it must be interoperable and its communications suite must be fully compatible with other naval, expeditionary, interagency, joint, and allied forces. In addition, it must be able to operate as a Command and Control center, integrate information to develop a coherent tactical picture to support Joint Force, Battle Force, Battle Group and Air Wing planning, coordinate actions with other forces, and communicate the force's actions to appropriate commanders. The platform must have the capability to fully support a Joint Force Commander (JFC) and under limited circumstances be able to host an embarked JFC. Connectivity must include seamless integration of both organic and off-ship sensor inputs for power projection actions.

(6) (U) flexibility and growth potential - it must have the versatility to support current and future sea-based aircraft. It must have the ability to perform simultaneous multi-mission taskings and readily adapt to changing operational needs. In addition, it must have the flexibility to adapt to changes in future threats, missions and technologies.

c. (U) Threat.


d. (U) Shortfalls of Existing Systems


(1) (U) maintain required force levels for forward presence, crisis response and warfighting,

(2) (U) maintain an effective industrial base to assure continued support for sea-basing, and

(3) (U) take advantage of new technologies and design concepts that offer opportunities to develop sea-based platforms that are as capable, but more affordable than current platforms.


(U) Changes in doctrine, operational concepts, tactics, organization and training are not sufficient to address the issue of maintaining an affordable and capable sea-based aviation capability.

a. (U) U.S. or Allied doctrine: Doctrine changes required without a 21st century TACAIR sea-based platform would include: Acceptance of a decrease ability to deter/contain regional crises; inability to project expeditionary force strike power from the sea; severely degraded ability to project precise strike power against land targets; and, inability to maintain meaningful, visible forward presence for coalition building which is "independent" of host nation support and operational approval.

b. (U) Operational concepts: A 21st century TACAIR sea-based platform optimized to leverage technology to perform multiple roles in both open ocean and littoral/enabling warfare environments, will be needed to execute the operational concepts contained in the Joint Maritime Strategy.

c. (U) Tactics: Tactics calling for the application of sea-based forces into the littorals, enabling follow-on forces as well as influencing nearby events, will place all naval forces at higher risk as technological development and proliferation of adversaries' offensive systems grow. The TACAIR sea-based platform will aid measurably in the protection of those naval forces, but will need the enhanced self-protection systems to balance that growing threat. Simple changes in tactics would not provide the commensurate degree of protection that would be the result of building a new platform with greater self-protection areas of hull and bottom defense.

d. (U) Organization: Organizational changes, such as increased forward basing and/or double crewing of carries, in lieu of procurement were determined to be infeasible. Acceptance of these alternatives may provide insufficient assets for crisis response or joint warfighting in a single or two nearly simultaneous MRC contingency.

e. (U) Training: Training alternatives offering the potential to maintain force capability in a smaller force manned with fewer personnel rely heavily on holistic, embedded training. This training capability must be an integral part of the total ship architecture called out as a mission need in the 21st century carrier. Future aircraft carriers must be ready to fight simultaneous multi-warfare engagements in littoral warfare that will proceed so rapidly that crew response times will be critical. Although improvements in embedded training and changes in training concepts will mitigate to a degree the increased threat, they will be insufficient in themselves without the benefit of survivability and defensive systems improvements.


a. (U) Alternative design concepts include:

(1) (U) new ship designs, which may include nuclear or non-nuclear propulsion or advanced/unconventional hull forms

(2) (U) a modified repeat Nimitz class carrier

(3) (U) Mobile Offshore Basing (MOB) Concepts

b. (U) The ongoing Nimitz class acquisition program could potentially address this need through a mod repeat program by capitalizing on advanced technology. However, to do this, it would need to employ a significantly different architectural approach in the design.

c. (U) As part of their shipbuilding programs, various Allies have combat, hull, mechanical and electrical system programs ongoing of under development that offer possible cooperative opportunities. These subsystem designs will be examined. All meaningful cooperative opportunities can be realized without a formal cooperative development program for a 21st century TACAIR sea-based platform.


a. (U) Key Boundary Conditions.

(1) (U) Architecture. The ship design must employ a total ship, aircraft and weapons system architecture/engineering approach that optimizes life cycle cost and performance; permits rapid upgrade and change in response to evolving operational requirements; allows computational and communications resources to keep technological pace with commercial capabilities and allows for full realization of the command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) for the warrior (C4IFTW) concept; and provides the capability to survive and fight hurt. More specifically this implies physical element modularity; functional sharing of hardware (across all services); open systems information architecture; ship wide resource management; automation of Command, Control, Communications, and Computers (C4I), combat, aircraft support, ordnance handling, management; automation and minimization of maintenance and administrative functions; integrated systems security; and embedded training. The approach should also promote commonality with other ship designs.

(2) (U) Design. Consideration should be given to the maximum use of modular construction design in the platforms infrastructure. Emerging technologies must be accounted for during the developmental phase. Modern, flexible information processing must be built into any new weapons system. Since communication and data systems hold the greatest potential for growth, and therefore obsolescence, their installations must be modularized as much as possible to allow for future upgrades. The inherent vulnerabilities of communications and data systems requires information systems security to be engineered into the design. Use standard man-to-machine interfaces among the systems onboard. The man-to-machine interfaces should be consistent with existing user friendly systems. This capability must comply with applicable information technology standards contained the Technical Architecture Framework for Information Management (TAFIM), Volume 7, Adopted Information Technology Standards (AITS).

(3) (U) Personnel. The platform should be automated to a sufficient degree to realize significant manpower reductions in engineering, damage control, combat systems, ship support and Condition III watchstanding requirements. Reduced manning concepts used by other Navies should be reviewed to leverage advanced technologies and future advanced technology concepts in an effort to minimize shipboard manning requirements. Preventive maintenance manpower requirements must be reduced by incorporating self-analysis features in equipment designs, and by selecting materials and preservatives which minimize corrosion. Manpower, Personnel and Training (MPT) analysis will be performed in accordance with OPNAVINST 5311.7 (HARDMAN). This analysis will recommend options to exploit the use of technology to reduce MPT requirements. Trade-offs which reduce MPT requirements will be favored during design and development. Final MPT determination will be documented and validated in a Navy Training Plan in accordance with OPNAVINST 1500.8.

(4) (U) Backfit. Major functional elements of a 21st century TACAIR sea-based platform must be applicable to other forward fit ship construction programs. Consideration must also be given to the ability to retrofit into existing carrier classes; however, this must not be done at the expense of achieving performance in new construction.

b. Operational Constraints

(1) (U) The 21st century TACAIR sea-based platform must remain fully functional and operational in all environments regardless of time of day, whether conducting independent of force operations, in heavy weather or in the presence of electromagnetic, nuclear, biological and chemical contamination and/or shock effects from nuclear and conventional weapon attack.

(2) (U) Any 21st century TACAIR sea-based platform must meet the survivability requirements of Level III as defined in OPNAVINST 9070.1. Topside systems components shall be decontaminated through use of a countermeasure wash down system and portable Decontamination (DECON) methods.

(3) (U) The 21st century TACAIR sea-based platform must provide landing and hangar facilities, and ammunition storage for operational support of required aviation assets.

(4) (U) The platform must be able to operate in U.S., foreign, and international waters in full compliance with existing U.S. and international pollution control laws and regulations.

(5) (U) All ship and combat system elements must make use of standard subsystems and meet required development practices. The 21st century TACAIR sea-based platform must be fully integrated with other U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, joint and allied forces, and other agencies (e.g., Theater Air Defense Architecture) in combined, coordinated operations. For example, linkage with standard data bases from the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA) will minimize ancillary costs and promote maximum interoperability with the widest number of weapons and sensor systems. Joint goals for standardization and interoperability will be achieved to the maximum feasible extent.

(6) (U) The platform must be able to embark Special Operations Forces (SOF) and Joint Forces when required for selected missions.


(U) JPD overall is TBD. Service assessments are as follows:

a. (U) USA. Recommend JPD of Joint Interest based on the interoperability requirements implied in paragraphs 2.b.(1) and (5) and 5.b.(5).

b. (U) USAF. Recommended Joint Potential Designator for this MNS is "Joint Interest" due to the need to be fully interoperable with other services' Battle Management/C4I systems.

c. (U) USMC. No comment.

Last updated on November 19, 1996.