UUV Program Plan
I. As part of the deliberation process leading to the FY 1994 Appropriations Act, the Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) "...delete[d] efforts which [were] premature until the Office of the Secretary of Defense establishes affordable, cost-effective priorities among multiple unmanned underwater vehicle efforts."
The SAC's views were sustained in conference and additional guidance added:
(1) Navy was requested to assign the Director of the Navy's Expeditionary Warfare Division (N85) the responsibility for establishing the Navy's Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) program priorities.
(2) The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was requested not to obligate funds provided for its autonomous mine countermeasures project until the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition certify that the ARPA effort is part of the overall plan and meets the priorities established for UUV's.
In addition, a statement recognizing the need for a near-term UUV was appended:
"The conferees recognize the requirement for a near-term UUV that can detect mines and minefields and relay such information back to commanders as part of the Navy's clandestine mine reconnaissance concept primarily for amphibious operations."
[The conferees added $4M to the Undersea Superiority Technology Demonstration program element to begin addressing this near-term requirement.]
II. ACTIONS TAKEN
In response to the Congressional request, and within priorities established by the Chief of Naval Operations, CNO(N85), the Department of the Navy has established its strategy and plans for Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) developments and acquisition. Navy and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) have worked to ensure that the technology community's programs at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and at the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) support these priorities; and, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, USD(A&T), and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition, ASN(RD&A), have reviewed and certify that the ARPA mine countermeasures (MCM) project is part of the overall plan meeting the priorities established for UUVs.
III. UUV PRIORITIES
III.1. Priority 1
Clandestine mine reconnaissance is the Navy's top UUV priority. Knowledge of the full dimension of the mine threat without exposing reconnaissance platforms is vital to exploiting the tactical benefits of maneuver warfare. To this end, a near-term program is being established using the funding provided by Congress as part of the FY 1994 Appropriations Act to deliver a clandestine UUV mine reconnaissance capability to the Fleet within 3-4 years. Funds to sustain this effort and to support the longer term strategic plan are available and will be reprogrammed from within the FY 1995 President's Budget submit.
The initial capability has been designated the Near-Term Mine Reconnaissance System or NMRS. The NMRS is a minehunting UUV launched and recovered from a 688-class nuclear submarine. The UUV in combination with an SSN represents a long endurance, clandestine system capable of mapping the undersea environment and providing time sensitive information on mining activities (or lack of activity) to the theater commander.
III.2 Priority 2
The NMRS will provide an effective and much needed capability to the Fleet. However, because of its near-term focus, it will not provide all the capability required to meet the full undersea mine warfare challenge. The Navy's second priority, therefore, is to develop a greatly improved capacity to conduct clandestine minefield avoidance as well as reconnaissance. Using developing technologies and the lessons learned from the near-term UUV, the long-term mine reconnaissance UUV will be capable of launch from submarines or surface combatants, of reaching areas over-the-horizon, and for rapid, thorough and accurate minefield reconnaissance. This program is designated the Long-Term Mine Reconnaissance and Avoidance System (LMRS). LMRS will capitalize and build on the Concept Exploration and Definition efforts supported by Congress and executed for the Submarine Offboard Mine Search System (SOMSS) program, which is cancelled.
Funding to start the Concept Exploration and Definition phase of this program is available and will be reprogrammed from within the FY 1995 President's Budget submit.
III.3. Priority 3
Closely coupled with mine warfare reconnaissance are the needs to conduct surveillance and intelligence collection in the world's littorals. Undersea surveillance and intelligence collection operations include the gathering of information on ship types, movements and exploitable characterizations, the accumulation of potential targeting data, the monitoring of electronic and acoustic emissions, and the execution of special forces operations.
Tactical oceanographic measurements in politically sensitive or denied areas, while potentially the most critical, are often the hardest to obtain. Shallow water oceanographic measurements using UUVs will represent a breakthrough in tactical oceanography.
Funding to conduct initial concept studies for this third priority, which maximize commonality with other UUV missions, is available and will be reprogrammed from within the FY 1995 President's Budget submit. The concept studies will also capitalize on an effort funded by Congress in FY 1994 to develop small, cost-effective UUVs with oceanographic sensors to gather in situ data.
III.4 Priority 4
Leveraging technology developments, the UUV of the future will significantly enhance the tactical commander's ability to carry the battle to the enemy, extending the undersea battle space with advanced sensors and possibly weapons, and providing the means to make precision strikes on enemy threats. Exploring advanced UUV designs for the future represents the fourth priority in UUV development. Regarding this priority, the FY 1995 program will focus on continued development of enabling technologies for future UUV missions, described in the next section.
IV. Research and Development
Advancements in critical technologies such as energy storage and conversion, propulsion, sensors, signal processing, communications, precision navigation, autonomous control and signature reduction are vital to the design and evolution of UUVs to conduct the aforementioned Priority 2, 3, and 4 missions.
Funding for the exploration of critical, enabling technologies has been requested by both the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) as part of the President's Budget submit for FY 1995. In addition, funding has been requested by the Navy for an Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) for long endurance propulsion, which will complement ONR and ARPA technology programs in this area. Non-Navy funding is also being requested by the DOD Special Operations community to conduct an ATD that will investigate the performance of miniature UUVs (i.e., 52 inches long and 6 inches in diameter) in very shallow water. All technology and technology demonstration efforts are being closely coordinated with the Navy's prioritized acquisition programs described above.
OSD and Navy have carefully reviewed and prioritized all Navy UUV acquisition programs, and, where applicable, have restructured or cancelled programs in order to provide a coordinated and focused plan. Consideration was given to the full range of university and industry technology programs. Recognizing the constraints posed by the very short timeframe for the near-term system and its required operational characteristics, the Navy UUV plan provides a focused acquisition management process within established priorities and with emphasis on affordability and cost-effectiveness. Additionally, the plan provides flexibility in future UUV development and acquisition upon initiation of the less time critical priority two development of a Long-Term Mine Reconnaissance and Avoidance System (LMRS).
Research and development remains vital to the evolution of UUV capabilities. ARPA's MCM Project has been reviewed and is certified as an integral part of the Navy's UUV priorities and plan.
The Near-Term Mine Reconnaissance System (NMRS) will be initiated in FY 1994 and will yield a clandestine mine reconnaissance capability for the Fleet at the end of FY 1997. With continued Congressional support, in FY 1995 the Navy will initiate activities to support the remaining UUV priorities.
Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Strategic Plan
The FY 1994 Defense Appropriations Bill requested "...that the Director of the Navy's Expeditionary Warfare Division (N85) be assigned the responsibility for establishing the Navy's Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) program priorities". Furthermore the Congress requested the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology (USD(A&T)) and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research Development, and Acquisition (ASN(RD&A)) to certify that the UUV efforts of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) are part of the Navy's overall plan and meet the priorities established for UUVs.
This report, and the Program Plan it documents, responds to the Congressional requests, provides a prioritized and coordinated evolution of UUV system development, and builds upon our accomplishments in unmanned undersea systems. The elements of the plan, described in greater detail below, include: mission prioritization, programmatic concentration of efforts on the top mission priority, demonstrating UUV capabilities, program cancellation and restructuring, and coordination of Navy and Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) UUV research and development (R&D) efforts in support of the established priorities.
II. UUV Mission Priorities
UUV programs will extend knowledge and control of the undersea battle space through the employment of cost-effective, covert, off-board sensors capable of operating reliably in areas of high risk and political sensitivity. They will provide unmanned systems capable of improving, supplementing, or replacing manned systems in order to enhance force efficiency, reduce costs, and reduce risk to people and platforms. Effective implementation of programs to provide operational UUV capabilities, however, requires the establishment of priorities to provide focus and allocate limited resources.
The Director of the Navy's Expeditionary Warfare Division, N85, has established the Navy's UUV program priorities, as requested by the FY 1994 DOD Appropriations Act. A full copy of the "Strategy and Priorities for the Navy's Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Program" approved by N85 is provided as Appendix A to this report. The priorities are briefly summarized in this section of the report; the Navy's plan to implement these priorities is addressed in Section III.
There are four basic mission areas for which the utility of unmanned undersea systems was substantiated in the strategy and priorities document: mine warfare; surveillance; intelligence collection; and tactical oceanography.
Of these, Congress and Navy have agreed that the most pressing needs are in mine warfare. The proliferation of mines, and the willingness and ability of many nations to employ them, challenges the free movement of U.S. and allied shipping and can impede or deny the employment of amphibious assault forces to a theater commander. Therefore, a UUV system to provide the theater commander with a limited capability for conducting clandestine mine reconnaissance in the near term, i.e., 3-4 years, is the Navy's highest UUV priority. Because of its near-term focus, this capability will not be robust enough to meet the full undersea mine warfare challenge. Therefore, the Navy's second UUV priority is to develop a long-term system that will greatly improve and operationally sustain its capability to conduct clandestine minefield reconnaissance and avoidance and replace the near-term system as it is retired.
Surveillance and intelligence of a potential adversary's coastal areas is a high value mission for which a UUV can provide a low-risk, sustained, and effective solution. Furthermore, a modern Naval Expeditionary Force operating from the sea must possess an understanding of the physical environment and the tactical oceanographic conditions in which it operates. This information is necessary for the optimum placement and configuration of sensors and weapons in order to achieve maximum warfighting effectiveness. Meeting the requirements for surveillance, intelligence, and tactical oceanography, as a group, is the Navy's third UUV priority.
Other mission applications for unmanned undersea systems can be suggested and considered as viable capabilities, including special warfare, counter-narcotics, and counter-terrorism. While specific mission needs for such systems have not been formally identified by the Navy, the capabilities of such systems will be considered in planning for future developments. Therefore, exploring advanced UUV designs for the future is the Navy's fourth and final UUV priority.
The strategy and priorities document also recognizes the need for the DOD research and development community to advance critical UUV technologies that can support the mission areas described above as well as enable future UUV designs and missions.
III. Program Plan
III.1 Mine Warfare: Clandestine Mine Reconnaissance and Avoidance
Within the areas of mine warfare, the most significant shortfall is the early and sustained knowledge of where and when an enemy has deployed its mines. This information, while always important, has become critical with the down-sizing of U.S. forces and the associated inability to sustain heavy losses. Reliable intelligence is the key to successful tactical planning and to the timely and efficient deployment of limited forces.
As summarized in Table 1, without adequate intelligence, the demands on limited forces can become overwhelming.
The most useful knowledge in tactical planning is that which is obtained early and accurately. Knowledge of the undersea battle space must be provided well in advance of contemplated operations (especially amphibious assault operations) and must be detailed enough to ensure that the right forces with the right equipment are selected. Further, battle space knowledge is ephemeral; an enemy does not stand still and indeed, he attempts to increase his foe's uncertainty of his intentions and actions over time.
This combined need for early and sustained battle space knowledge underpins the need for a clandestine system to acquire reconnaissance information without the risk of inciting pre-mature adversarial action or incurring unacceptable losses. Historically, nuclear submarines have provided an early and sustained presence in combination with inherent stealth. We must, therefore, ensure that submarines, which are in theater earliest, and whose presence is sustained and least detectable, have the ability to conduct effective reconnaissance.
Clandestine mine reconnaissance applies to amphibious assaults in general, but particularly applies where extensive shallow water conditions are prevalent, and a significant mine threat is anticipated as would be the case in any Amphibious Objective Area (AOA) likely to be selected. Without good reconnaissance, the amphibious assault force will be unable to exercise effective options for maneuver warfare. With good reconnaissance of minefield locations, selection of landing areas and associated transit lanes can be based on hard evidence as opposed to speculation from imperfect intelligence and surveillance. Timely and accurate characterization of minefields could allow assault forces to avoid minefields altogether or to transit through areas where the mine density is low. It should also allow appropriate structuring and sequencing of assault forces and increase the efficiency of mine countermeasures (MCM) clearance operations. The clandestine nature is key due to the need for tactical surprise for any potentially opposed amphibious assault.
Because of the critical nature of this mission, and the limitations on our existing capabilities, a near-term mine reconnaissance system is necessary to provide a base capability which can be deployed upon short notice to effect a limited means of early, clandestine undersea mine reconnaissance. This is the Navy's highest UUV priority.
The initial capability has been designated the Near-Term Mine Reconnaissance System or NMRS. The NMRS will be a minehunting UUV system which is launched and recovered from a 688-class nuclear submarine. NMRS will be capable of mine detection, classification, and localization with an inherent low risk to the host platform, while using existing demonstrated technologies and capabilities in order to reduce cost and be available in the near term. The UUV in combination with an SSN represents a long endurance, clandestine system capable of surveying the undersea environment and providing time sensitive information on mining activities (or lack of activity) to the theater commander. An Interim Operational Requirement and a Concept of Operations for NMRS have been approved by the Directors of the Navy's Expeditionary Warfare Division (N85) and Submarine Warfare Division (N87), and are enclosed as Appendix B.
The Near-Term Mine Reconnaissance System (NMRS) Interim Operational Requirement calls for one system, consisting of two UUVs, launch and recovery equipment, and shipboard command and control and support equipment, to be delivered for operation by a Navy cadre of personnel within 3-4 years. NMRS will have an operational life of six years. NMRS will build upon a programmatic base established by a classified program. This will include the use of actual hardware and software from the classified program, as well as the modification of designs. Capitalizing on this classified program is the only approach that can meet the near-term requirements of the Interim Operational Requirement; it will yield a demonstration (using only one UUV) within two years of program start, and an Operational Prototype system 1-2 years later. The demonstration will be conducted using a UUV and command and control consoles built from existing hardware subsystems and components and software from the classified program, and a launch and recovery (L&R) subsystem built from designs completed under the classified program. The UUV minehunting sensors will be built from existing designs from other programs. For the Operational Prototype, two UUVs (with minehunting sensors) will be built utilizing designs evolved from the demonstration UUV; the command and control consoles and the launch and recovery subsystem built for the demonstration system will be refurbished for the Operational Prototype system.
Only one NMRS Operational Prototype system will be procured by the Navy. Extensive acquisition tailoring, e.g., use of commercial standards and non-developmental hardware/software, will be exercised for this program in order to facilitate meeting the urgent need. The estimated schedule and cost for the Near-Term Mine Reconnaissance System (NMRS) are illustrated on the next page. The FY 1994 funding for NMRS will be from the Undersea Superiority Technology Demonstration program element (PE0603555N), as provided for in the FY 1994 DOD Appropriations Act. Outyear funding for the Near-Term Mine Reconnaissance System (NMRS) will be programmed from within the Unmanned Undersea Vehicle program element (PE0603502N, V2094). (This UUV program element was initially programmed to fund a long-term, major acquisition program, the Submarine Offboard Mine Search System (SOMSS), which primarily addressed submarine mine avoidance, and which was proceeding towards a Milestone I in FY 1994. SOMSS will be replaced by, but serve as the foundation for, a program to address the revised long-term requirements described in the next paragraph.)
The Near-Term Mine Reconnaissance System (NMRS) will provide an effective and much needed capability to the Fleet. However, because of its near-term focus, it will be inherently limited in specific areas of capability (e.g., endurance, reliability, and mapping) and, therefore, cannot provide all of the capability required to meet the full undersea mine warfare challenge. Furthermore, since the single NMRS Operational Prototype system will have an operational life limited to six years, a long-term system will be required to replace and expand the Fleet's operational capability. The Navy's second UUV priority, therefore, is to develop a greatly improved, cost-effective capability to conduct clandestine minefield avoidance as well as reconnaissance. This priority is designated the Long-Term Mine Reconnaissance and Avoidance System or LMRS; it will be capable of launch from submarines or surface combatants, of reaching areas over-the-horizon, and for rapid, thorough and accurate minefield reconnaissance and avoidance. As described above, LMRS will replace the Submarine Offboard Mine Search System (SOMSS) program, but it will fully capitalize on the Concept Exploration and Definition investments and efforts recently completed for that program, including a Cost and Operational Effectiveness Analysis (COEA). In parallel with the Near-Term Mine Reconnaissance System (NMRS) development, in FY 1995 the Navy will commence an analysis of the Long-Term Mine Reconnaissance and Avoidance System (LMRS) requirements and mission, and will evaluate and assess technical and programmatic alternatives to meeting those requirements. The approach will be to contextually address the Long-Term Mine Reconnaissance and Avoidance System (LMRS) analyses and alternatives as excursions from the baseline developed for the Submarine Offboard Mine Search System (SOMSS) and, therefore, not duplicate the previous analysis where possible. For example, as key performance parameters are identified for LMRS, they will be compared against SOMSS analyses, to quickly ascertain the cost sensitivity and effectiveness of that parameter. The notional plan, illustrated below, is to proceed towards a Milestone I for the Long-Term Mine Reconnaissance and Avoidance System (LMRS) in FY 1996, and to schedule Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for FY 2003, such that the Long-Term Mine Reconnaissance and Avoidance System (LMRS) replaces the Near-Term Mine Reconnaissance System (NMRS) as it is retired. FY 1995 and outyear funding for LMRS will be programmed from within the Unmanned Undersea Vehicle program element (PE0603502N, V2094). The Near-Term Mine Reconnaissance System (NMRS) and Long-Term Mine Reconnaissance and Avoidance System (LMRS) programs will be managed by the Navy's Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Program Management Office, under the Program Executive Officer for Undersea Warfare.