Ocnus.Net
News Before It's News
About us | Ocnus? |

Front Page 
 
 Africa
 
 Analyses
 
 Business
 
 Dark Side
 
 Defence & Arms
 
 Dysfunctions
 
 Editorial
 
 International
 
 Labour
 
 Light Side
 
 Research
Search

Defence & Arms Last Updated: Mar 31, 2020 - 12:17:27 PM


If DARPA Has Its Way, Every Navy Ship Will Soon Be An Aircraft Carrier
By Zachary Keck, National Interet, 29/3/20
Mar 30, 2020 - 1:18:18 PM

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

Warfare is changing rapidly.

Key point: Surface ships are not the only mini aircraft carriers the U.S. Navy is seeking to develop to compensate for the growing missile threat.

The U.S. Navy is seeking to transform every ship into mini aircraft carriers.

Last month the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced the start of the second phase of its Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN) program. TERN, a joint program between DARPA and the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR), aims to create a system that would enable small ships to operate both intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and combat drones.

“The goal of Tern is to give forward-deployed small ships the ability to serve as mobile launch and recovery sites for medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial systems (UAS),” DARPA said in a press release announcing Phase 2 of the program. “These systems could provide long-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and other capabilities over greater distances and time periods than is possible with current assets.”

Not only would Tern enhance the U.S. Navy’s strike capabilities, but it could also greatly reduce costs by decreasing the U.S. military’s reliance on expensive land-based air strips. “A capacity to launch and retrieve aircraft on small ships would reduce the need for ground-based airstrips, which require significant dedicated infrastructure and resources.” Land-based airstrips are also more vulnerable to enemy missiles, and frequently create tension​ with local populations.

Tern also potentially help reduce the U.S. Navy’s reliance on aircraft carriers. This is crucial as many fear that large aircraft carriers are growing obsolete amidst the proliferation of long-range precision-strike missiles to U.S. adversaries like China and Iran. Beijing, in particular, poses a vexing challenge to the U.S. Navy as missiles like the DF-21D— frequently dubbed the “carrier killer”— appear to be aimed at sinking America’s aircraft carriers.

An anti-ship ballistic missile, the DF-21D is reportedly able to “carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel, providing the Chinese the capability of destroying a U.S. supercarrier in one strike.”

Once operational—both the missile and its kill chain—it will reportedly be able to strike a moving supercarrier at ranges of nearly 1,500 kilometers. Given the immense cost of America’s ten aircraft carriers, as well as the manpower required to operate them, the DF-21D will essentially force America to keep its carriers out of range from the Chinese mainland and many potential hot spots in the region.

Tern would help the United States overcome this issue by greatly increasing the number of targets China or another U.S. adversary would have to strike in order to destroy America’s strike capabilities. Indeed, according to The Motley Fool, the system that comes out of the Tern program could “permit MALE-sized drones to operate off ships as small as an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer—or even a smaller Independence—or Freedom-class frigate.” In other words, nearly every U.S. naval surface ship could become a mini aircraft carrier, especially as the U.S. Navy is moving completely away from manned aircraft after the F-35.

(Recommended: US Navy's 6th Generation Fighter Jets Will Be Slow and Unstealthy)

Nor are surface ships the only mini aircraft carriers the U.S. Navy is seeking to develop to compensate for the growing missile threat. Back in 2013, the navy first “demonstrated the launch of an all-electric, fuel cell-powered, unmanned aerial system (UAS) from a submerged submarine.” For the time being, however, these drones are strictly for IRS purposes.

DARPA launched the Tern program back in 2013. In May of the following year, it signed a memorandum of understanding with ONR to make it a joint program.

According to DARPA:

The program has three planned phases. The first two phases focus on preliminary design and risk reduction for the Tern system. In Phase 3, a performer would be selected to build a full-scale demonstrator Tern system for ground-based testing, culminating in an at-sea demonstration of launch and recovery.

AeroVironment and Northrop Grumman were the two contractors selected for the second phase of the program. Dan Patt, DARPA's program manager for Tern, said that:

Our Phase 2 performers are each designing a new unmanned air system intended to enable two  previously unavailable capabilities: one, the ability for a UAS to take off and land from very confined spaces in elevated sea states and two, the ability for such a UAS to transition to efficient long-duration cruise missions.

 


Source:Ocnus.net 2020

Top of Page

Defence & Arms
Latest Headlines
New Ukrainian Naval Base ‘East’: A Countermeasure Against Russia’s Hybrid Strategies in the Sea of Azov?
The Importance of Foreign Military Bases for Russia
Chinese Private Security Contractors: New Trends and Future Prospects
Yellow Hands on the Blue Line: Hezbollah’s Military Deployment along the Border Area Increases the Risks of Escalation
Warplanes: Old Irreplaceable
Moscow Plans Additional Modifications to Its Fifth-Generation Su-57 Fighter
A Very Modern Arms Race
Murphy's Law: Smart Shells Everywhere
Israel: Fire In The North
Artillery: China Offers Flexibility