Introduction to Aircraft

Aviation S&T Roadmap


The Navy and Marine Corps Aviation Team is an enabling element of our nationís overall warfighting capability providing flexible forward presence and deterrence to help preclude conflict and preserve the peace. The unique environment which these enabling forces operate in requires a robust Science and Technology base which enhances Naval Aviation effectiveness and allows the United States to keep forces forward deployed, ready for combat and engaged in preserving the peace. The Naval Aviation Science and Technology Office (NAVSTO) of the Naval Aviation Systems TEAM in partnership with industry, and under the sponsorship of the Office of Naval Research (ONR), serves the nation and the Navy by developing and acquiring supporting Naval aeronautical and related science and technology which will improve the Operating Forces assets, in support of the Unified Commanders and our Allies, so that they can better train, fight, and win.



We must continue to provide our nation with the equipment and technologies necessary to fulfill the Defense Strategy of being engaged in forward areas, with the objectives of preventing conflicts and controlling crises which are paramount to maintaining peaceful global stability.

"Forward...From The Sea" states the Navyís role in the national defense as part of the national strategy, emphasizes the importance of maintaining forward-deployed naval forces, and recognizes the impact of peacetime operational tempo on the size of Navy and Marine Corps force structure. In addition to recognizing the unique contributions of the Navy and the Marine Corps in the areas of power projection and forward presence, it restated the need for the national strategic objectives through our enduring contributions in strategic deterrence, sea control and maritime supremacy, and strategic sealift.

The range and depth of Aviation Science and Technology must support a broad force structure representing diverse missions. The main sizing elements in current Navy planning includes:

The Aircraft carrier fleet will comprise eleven active and one reserve carriers. The mix of two conventional powered carriers and ten nuclear powered carriers will be attained in the year 2002.

By the turn of the century, ten active and one reserve air wing will support the carriers. Each air wing will comprise 50 high performance F-18 and F-14 multiple mission capable strike fighter aircraft. Additionally, the unique electronic capabilities of the EA-6B, the multi-sensor capabilities of the E-2C, and the surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of the S-3B and ES-3A make the airwing a lethal and capable power projection team.

Marine Aircraft Wings will consist of three active and one reserve squadrons. The airwing will consist of high performance F-18 and AV-8B aircraft for close air support and EA-6B aircraft for electronic warfare.

Maritime Patrol Aircraft at the turn of the century will consist of twelve active and eight reserve squadrons flying P-3C aircraft supporting increasing multi-mission anti-surface warfare requirements.

Future aviation programs which afford transition and joint program opportunities include ongoing programs not yet in production and conceptual programs (Figure 1).

The F/A-18E/F is currently in development with production planned for 1997. This modernization development will increase mission radius, endurance, and survivability. The F/A-18E/F will also replace F-14s as they retire.

The SH-60R is being developed for purposes of commonality (currently SH-60B and SH-60F) and to improve sensor capability which will give a robust multi-mission capability well into the next century.

The V-22 is a joint service aircraft with production planned to start in 1997. Its unique technology offers potential for many joint applications.

JPATS is a joint Navy and Air Force program developing and procuring the follow-on primary basic training aircraft. Navy production is planned to start in 2000.

UAV effort is being pursued by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) with design studies for TIER II high altitude endurance UAVs. Procurement of TIER II would be in the early 2000 time frame.

JAST is a joint effort exploring all available and emerging technologies that will lead to the development of a "highly survivable, first-day strike fighter" for the Navy, a follow-on to the AV-8B Harrier for the Marine Corps and a replacement for the Air Force F-16. Procurement is planned for early in the next decade.

A Jammer Weapon System to replace the EA-6B in the post 2010 period will be required. Current use of the EA-6B for all DOD electronic jamming missions suggests close joint service cooperation.

The CSA (Common Support Aircraft) is envisioned to be a common for the E-2C, S-3B and ES-3A aircraft. It will service the fleet in C3I, early warning, and electronic surveillance. Production start is anticipated for the later part of the next decade.

The HLR is the Heavy Lift Replacement for the CH-53E and MH-53E which retire in about 2010. The HLR will be developed to fulfill the essential role of troop and heavy equipment transport and airborne mine countermeasures.

The CVLA is the Common Vertical Lift Aircraft which will replace the UH-1N and AG-1W. It will support the helicopter air-to-air and air-to-ground mission, troop transport, and search and rescue function. It is a candidate to incorporate tilt-rotor technology developed under the V-22 program. Production start is projected for about the 2015 time frame.

The challenge for the future is to provide an integrated, capable and affordable warfighting force which can operate jointly. The technological advancements and developments by aviation S&T personnel will ensure that Naval Aviation can perform its missions and provide decisive military power.



The NAVSTO is organized to focus the science and technology program on the Navyís roles and missions of the future. Under the sponsorship of the ONR, science and technology development is coordinated to meet requirements developed by the Navy and Marine Operational Commands and the Naval Aviation Acquisition Community. The requirements developed for the Naval aviation systems differ significantly from those of other services in that they must operate in a maritime environment based aboard aircraft carriers and other air-capable ships. Naval aviation operations in the severe "at sea" environment place additional high demands on the aircraft and weapon systems. These environments include: corrosion/salt spray; deck and elevator space limitations; size/weight restrictions; longer missions; overwater and underwater emergency egress and survivability; shipboard EMI; special supportability and maintainability; and catapult launch and arrested landings.

- Figure 1 -

In the face of declining resources, there is a greater need to seek new capabilities through a well-focused and cost-conscious technology strategy. Detailed requirements definition involves participation from many DON component organizations. Joint Mission Area/Joint Support Area Working Groups defined projected roles in nine recognized areas. Having defined specific roles and missions in this new world order, it is necessary to establish science and technology goals to address future needs. This effort, within the Navy, is carried out through the use of "S&T Roundtables" where the user, the acquisition and the S&T community representatives meet to prioritize the science and technology needs to support the Joint Mission Areas and Joint Support Areas. A Transition Opportunities Board (TOB) has been established within the Naval Air Systems TEAM to align these S&T needs with potential acquisition opportunities. It is at this point that the near, mid, and far term transition opportunities are determined and are provided to the technical community for focusing their current and future efforts to platforms of interest.



To provide better focus on the science and technology program within the Naval Air Systems TEAM, and to facilitate coordination with the sponsor ONR, all aviation related science and technology efforts have been organized into five major Product Lines:

The vision and key emphasis areas for each of the teams representing the above Product Lines are:

Aircraft Systems: Provide technologies for Naval aircraft systems that enable operational superiority and affordability in Joint and Navy unique mission areas in a maritime environment. The key emphasis or focus areas include: (1) Marine Environment and Shipboard Operations; (2) Affordability; (3) Sustainability; and (4) Survivability and Mission Execution.

Avionics and Sensors: Provide Navy and Marine Corps aircraft with affordable and reliable avionics and sensor systems which will significantly improve the weapon system performance, supportability, and adaptability. Key emphasis areas include: (1) Surveillance; (2) Targeting and Fire Control; (3) Survivability; and (4) Information Management for Joint Operations.

Weapons: Provide the science and technology for affordable weapons systems that are compatible with the maritime environment, meet the needs of today and lay the foundations for the weapons of tomorrow. Key emphasis areas include: (1) Joint Strike Warfare; (2) Joint Littoral Warfare; and (3) Strategic Deterrence. The issues of marine environment, affordability, and casualty intolerance underlay efforts that support these three Joint Mission Areas.

Training, Simulation, and Modeling: Enhance the cost effectiveness and resource management of naval aviation systems and subsystems by developing integrated acquisition simulation capability and maximizing the opportunities for intelligent, adaptive and distributed embedded training exercises, and mission rehearsals. The key emphasis areas include: (1) Sea Warfare Training, and (2) Training Devices and Instructional Features. Technologies focus on interoperability, human system interface, advanced hardware/visualization, advanced instruction, evaluation methodologies, and computer-generated graphics/virtual reality.

Integrated Support Systems: Provide Naval and Marine Corps enhanced aviation mission effectiveness and sustained aviation warfighting capability by developing and applying affordable integrated support systems. The emphasis of this product line is primarily focused on Sea-based Aircraft Support. Additional areas of interest are mission support systems, environmental protection and compliance, air traffic control, manufacturing, and logistics, as well as CBR hardening and decontamination.



The future needs of Naval Aviation are dominated by several overarching themes:

Surveillance: Navy land-based and ship-based aircraft perform surveillance missions to gather information about potential hostile environments and to provide cueing information for the direction of tactical weapons. These systems are required to provide the necessary information in adverse weather, day or night, and under ECM conditions. The Naval Aviation sensor technology program is broadbased and includes radio frequency, electro-optic/infrared as well as acoustic sensors.

Information Warfare/C4I2: Information technologies are dramatically changing the warfare environment. They enable better performance of current platforms, weapons, sensors, and people. Strong emphasis is being placed on aircraft sensors, avionics, and related support systems that will provide:

Joint Precision Strike: With the battlefield in many cases now being intermingled with the civilian community, the emphasis for zero collateral damage has become very strong. The era of smart munitions has clearly taken hold with their effectiveness being demonstrated during Desert Storm. These weapons, however, are only as good as the targeting information provided to them, which may come from a variety of sources within a Joint Operational Command. The ability to do real-time retargeting is also a high priority, particularly for mobile targets. Use of UAVs for reconnaissance, targeting, and battle damage assessment should greatly increase the ability to carry out precision-strike missions.

Affordability: As stewards of scarce national resources and advocates of a strong national defense, the consideration of affordability has become an increasing part of the S&T program. Affordability is a major concern in this era of military downsizing and reduced budgets. Historically, the ultimate goal of many Naval Aviation S&T efforts has been to gain significantly enhanced system performance in the maritime environment. Increasingly, we are looking for technologies that can provide the same system performance at reduced cost. The full spectrum of life cycle costs (including development, procurement, and operational cost) must be considered. Also, a special emphasis has been placed on use of commercial standards, practices, and products. The interface of the aircraft system with shipboard operations and at-sea environmental constraints require that a total system perspective be taken into account as part of the cost benefit analysis.

Sustainability/Maintainability: Naval aviation must be capable of responding to a broad range of contingencies from confrontation with a major power to providing presence in third world areas. Mission flexibility is essential. This emphasis area includes maintaining effective operations during a mission and the maintenance, repair, and replenishment efforts required to ready the aircraft system for another mission. Reduced maintenance requirements and quick repair of damaged systems are opportunities for S&T investment to address sustainability concerns.



Increasingly, the Navy is moving to more joint research, development, procurement and operations. In the S&T area, there is increased cooperation and interdependency in DOD S&T investment. The Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) program is an example of the services combining S&T efforts for mutual benefit. The Naval Aviation S&T program is strongly supporting JAST through active participation in technology focus groups. Many of the S&T programs are closely aligned to feed new technology developments such as advanced propulsion, sensors, structures and materials into the JAST program. The X-31 and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) programs are other examples of joint technology developments that are ongoing.

Under oversight of the Joint Directors of Laboratories (JDL), Project Reliance is another vehicle through which there is a cross-service interchange of technical expertise. The technical programs of the Naval Air Systems TEAM are well coordinated with the other services through the Reliance program.

Lastly, it is the goal that all Navy aircraft be able to participate as part of coordinated operations with other platforms (surface, subsurface, air) and shore commands. Effective coordination implies collaborative planning, coordinated mission execution (including maneuvers and sensor/weapons system usage), and information sharing to support all phases of mission accomplishment.

SOURCE: Joint Aeronautical Commanders Group (JACG) August 1997