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Introduction

BACKGROUND

The mission of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is to sponsor research and development (R&D) in fields relevant to the needs of the Navy and the Marine Corps (the Naval Services). ONR maintains relationships with the R&D communities in universities, industry, other government agencies (including the other Service branches), and with the operational communities in the Naval Services to understand their science and technology (S&T) needs, and it provides funding and manages S&T development activities across a broad range of disciplines by contracting with external groups that perform the research. For example, ONR provides base funding for the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), a full-service R&D facility with laboratories, test chambers, test ranges, and a large scientific staff. ONR does not maintain its own laboratories or research facilities and does not have a large staff of scientists and engineers.

ONR investments in naval aviation support the R&D of manned and unmanned aircraft for offensive and defensive counterair operations/attack, strategic attack, interdiction, control of the sea lanes (including antisubmarine warfare), surveillance and reconnaissance, air support for ground troops, and air logistics. The principal interface with, and user of, the naval aviation S&T sponsored by ONR is the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). ONR’s two programs for executing these investments are (1) Discovery and Invention (D&I), supporting longer-term, higher-risk basic and applied research efforts (categories 6.1 and early 6.2), and (2) Exploitation and Deployment (E&D), consisting of technology development and demonstration efforts (categories late 6.2 and 6.3) that tend to be shorter term, have reduced technological risk, and are aimed for



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Identification of Promising Naval Aviation Science and Technology Opportunities 1 Introduction BACKGROUND The mission of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is to sponsor research and development (R&D) in fields relevant to the needs of the Navy and the Marine Corps (the Naval Services). ONR maintains relationships with the R&D communities in universities, industry, other government agencies (including the other Service branches), and with the operational communities in the Naval Services to understand their science and technology (S&T) needs, and it provides funding and manages S&T development activities across a broad range of disciplines by contracting with external groups that perform the research. For example, ONR provides base funding for the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), a full-service R&D facility with laboratories, test chambers, test ranges, and a large scientific staff. ONR does not maintain its own laboratories or research facilities and does not have a large staff of scientists and engineers. ONR investments in naval aviation support the R&D of manned and unmanned aircraft for offensive and defensive counterair operations/attack, strategic attack, interdiction, control of the sea lanes (including antisubmarine warfare), surveillance and reconnaissance, air support for ground troops, and air logistics. The principal interface with, and user of, the naval aviation S&T sponsored by ONR is the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). ONR’s two programs for executing these investments are (1) Discovery and Invention (D&I), supporting longer-term, higher-risk basic and applied research efforts (categories 6.1 and early 6.2), and (2) Exploitation and Deployment (E&D), consisting of technology development and demonstration efforts (categories late 6.2 and 6.3) that tend to be shorter term, have reduced technological risk, and are aimed for

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Identification of Promising Naval Aviation Science and Technology Opportunities early transition from S&T and insertion into the fleet. Current D&I efforts include naval-aviation-unique aircraft technology developments such as ship airwake modeling, fixed-wing composite structure corrosion fatigue analysis, and flight safety and autonomous control technologies in carrier operations. Future activities will include persistent aerial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) targeted for expeditionary strike groups, as well as structurally embedded antennas, sensors, and avionics to be integrated with future airframes. In addition, ONR will work closely with the Air Force Sensor Craft program to leverage its extensive investment and development.1 Centered on Future Naval Capabilities (FNCs; see Appendix D), current E&D efforts are highly focused and managed by integrated product development teams (IPDTs) with the goal of achieving rapid transition of the resulting technology to the fleet. They include (1) exploration of UAV propulsion technologies and development of UAV intelligent autonomy as part of the Autonomous Operations FNC; (2) leveraging of investments in the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle program (sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Air Force), part of the Time Critical Strike FNC; and (3) investment in the development of next-generation aircraft (manned) and cruise missile (expendable) turbine engine propulsion, part of the Total Ownership Cost FNC. ONR investments in aviation also include Marine Corps programs for heavy-lift rotorcraft and the reconfigurable rotor blade, as well as congressionally directed aviation investments, including the variable exhaust nozzle, DP-2, anti-corrosion modeling software, integrated processor fuel cell, integrated aircraft health management, advanced thin-film coatings, and aviation ground navigation systems. ONR manages a number of congressionally mandated and funded aviation S&T programs that are not of its own selection. The naval aviation S&T activities funded by ONR are not concentrated in a single organization but rather are conducted under the purview of several departments, referred to as codes. Furthermore, ONR is not organizationally structured according to war-fighting functional areas, such as naval aviation, surface ship warfare, and weapons systems, but instead along technical discipline lines, such as electronics, materials, and human systems. While such a structure is not uncommon in S&T organizations, it is often complemented by a strong program office structure representing, for example, war-fighting discipline areas led by individuals who are responsible for the funding and management of technology development across many organizational and technical disciplines. Without such 1   The Air Force has the largest Department of Defense (DOD) investment in all S&T for fixed-wing vehicles (both manned and unmanned). The Army has the lead on all rotary-wing vehicles (both manned and unmanned) for the DOD. ONR is planning to work closely with both the Air Force and the Army to leverage their much larger programs and avoid duplication so as to enable the Navy to pursue naval-unique applications.

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Identification of Promising Naval Aviation Science and Technology Opportunities a strong focus it is difficult to achieve an integrated and efficient technical program that has a high probability of developing technologies that will transfer to the fleet. The IPDT-managed FNCs focus on the transfer of existing high-priority capabilities such as time-critical strike, and not on a broader war-fighting functional capability, such as naval aviation. The largest aviation technology development activity at ONR resides in one of ONR’s six main departments, Code 35, Naval Expeditionary Warfare, but significant development in sensors, information, and electronics for aircraft is conducted in Code 31, in materials for aircraft in Code 33, and to a lesser extent in ocean science and human systems in Codes 32 and 34, respectively. There is no single program manager at ONR responsible for the entire funding, management, and technical direction of S&T activities as they relate to naval aviation. Details on the naval aviation program at ONR, including its organization, program structure, and funding allocations, are given in Appendix D. As one means of ensuring that its investments appropriately address naval priorities and requirements and that its programs are of high scientific and technical quality, ONR senior management requires that each of its departments undergo a review every 3 years. Several such reviews have been conducted on various programs within Code 35 over the past several years by various committees of the Naval Studies Board (NSB) of the National Research Council (NRC). In its 1999 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program,2 there was concern that project selection was methodological rather than strategic, that the S&T work was evolutionary in nature and focused on short-term needs, and that trade-off studies needed to be conducted to determine how to fit the 6.2 and 6.3 program components into the overall weapons system architecture. In its 2001 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Aircraft Technology Program,3 there was concern that the technical program was not influenced by a long-range vision or strategic planning for the future of naval aircraft technology. To that end, the report recommended that the staff of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV), in conjunction with NAVAIR and the ONR, develop a long-range naval aviation strategic plan that would include an S&T plan. It was further stated that such planning should provide (1) a framework for future ONR S&T investments, including significant emphasis on D&I, and (2) a vision for new capabilities, including advanced air vehicle concepts at affordable costs. 2   Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 1999. 1999 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 3   Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 2001. 2001 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Aircraft Technology Program, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

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Identification of Promising Naval Aviation Science and Technology Opportunities In its 2002 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program,4 it was recommended that, in collaboration with other Department of the Navy elements, ONR should develop a strategic naval air and surface weapons technology plan that would achieve a balance between near-and long-term goals. Moreover, the use of systems analysis both in developing the strategic plan and in S&T planning overall at ONR was needed. THIS STUDY At the request of ONR, the NRC, under the auspices of the NSB, established the Committee on Identification of Promising Naval Aviation Science and Technology Opportunities in September 2004 to identify promising naval aviation S&T opportunities in basic research (6.1), applied research (6.2), and advanced technology development (6.3) areas. The full terms of reference are given in Appendix A. Not intended to be an in-depth technical review of the current naval aviation programs at ONR, the current study focuses on identifying promising naval aviation S&T opportunities and capabilities that might enable the naval and joint operational concepts expressed in Naval Power 215 and Joint Vision 2020.6 The Navy and Marine Corps have defined their respective Service visions in Sea Power 217 and Marine Corps Strategy 21,8 and together they form Naval Power 21,9 the vision of how the naval forces of the United States will be equipped, trained, educated, organized, and employed in the 21st century. Joint Vision 202010 is the Department of Defense (DOD) vision that defines how the various elements of the DOD, including the naval forces, will operate in global conflicts as a single, integrated, war-fighting entity. There are many new war-fighting concepts expressed in Naval Power 21,11 such as sea basing and network-centric 4   Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 2002. 2002 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 5   Hon. Gordon England, Secretary of the Navy; ADM Vern Clark, USN, Chief of Naval Operations; and Gen James L. Jones, USMC, Commandant of the Marine Corps. 2002. Naval Power 21 …A Naval Vision, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C., October. 6   U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. 2000. Joint Vision 2020, Department of Defense, Washington, D.C. 7   ADM Vern Clark, USN, Chief of Naval Operations. 2002. “Sea Power 21,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Vol. 128, No. 10, pp. 32-41. 8   Gen James L. Jones, USMC, Commandant of the Marine Corps. 1999. Marine Corps Strategy 21, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C., July. 9   Hon. Gordon England, Secretary of the Navy; ADM Vern Clark, USN, Chief of Naval Operations; and Gen James L. Jones, USMC, Commandant of the Marine Corps. 2002. Naval Power 21 …A Naval Vision, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C., October. 10   U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. 2000. Joint Vision 2020, Department of Defense, Washington, D.C. 11   Hon. Gordon England, Secretary of the Navy; ADM Vern Clark, USN, Chief of Naval Operations; and Gen James L. Jones, USMC, Commandant of the Marine Corps. 2002. Naval Power 21 …A Naval Vision, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C., October.

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Identification of Promising Naval Aviation Science and Technology Opportunities operations, and ONR requested in this study that the committee identify new S&T opportunities and capabilities in naval aviation that would enable those concepts. The committee held two meetings in Washington, D.C., on September 28-30, 2004, and on October 26-27, 2004, to gather information about Naval Power 21, ONR, the naval aviation S&T program at ONR across all of the relevant organizations, and the aviation technology program activities at NAVAIR and within the Marine Corps. The committee did not receive a comprehensive briefing on each of the aviation programs and projects within ONR since a detailed technical review was not the goal of the study. The committee heard presentations from the Chief of Naval Research, the Technical Director of ONR, the Chief Technology Officer of NAVAIR, the Deputy Assistant Commander for Research and Engineering at NAVAIR, the S&T Director of the Air Warfare Division of OPNAV, the Deputy Commandant for Aviation, Headquarters Marine Corps, the Director of Research at NRL, the Director of Weapons Systems in the Office of the Secretary of Defense Research and Engineering, the Sea Trial Director of the Navy Warfare Development Command, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E). The committee also received briefings from the Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate, the Air Vehicles Directorate at the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Office of Aerospace Technology at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). From these presentations the committee learned a great deal about the current S&T planning processes within the Army, the Air Force, and NASA. A study conducted by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy12 provided the committee with considerable information about the overall balance and relevance of the S&T programs and planning processes at ONR. The committee also heard from the Tactical Technology Office at DARPA. The committee held a final meeting at the National Academies’ facility in Irvine, California, on November 16-18, 2004, to reach consensus on the findings and recommendations and to prepare a first draft of the final report. EMPHASIS AND APPROACH IN THIS STUDY The committee emphasizes the critical importance of good strategic planning to the success of any enterprise. It is only through the creation of a vision of a desired future state—the development of a strategic plan for achieving that vision followed by a detailed tactical implementation plan—that the ultimate goal can be achieved. The committee believes that (1) good strategic planning is critical to the success of naval aviation and (2) naval aviation is critical to the success of Sea 12   Michael McGrath, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (RDT&E), “DoN S&T Planning,” presentation to the committee on October 26, 2004.

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Identification of Promising Naval Aviation Science and Technology Opportunities Power 21 and Marine Corps Strategy 21 (together constituting Naval Power 21). Good technology planning and capability development can be achieved only within the context of a larger strategic plan. Without a strategic plan, aviation S&T projects will be merely a collection of unrelated activities. Chapter 2 of this report discusses the committee’s findings regarding the strategic planning processes for naval aviation and specifically for S&T activities at ONR. At the beginning of the study, a naval aviation strategic plan did not exist at NAVAIR or OPNAV. There was neither a master plan for the role that naval aviation would play in Naval Power 21, nor a strategic aviation S&T plan to guide the efforts of NAVAIR and ONR. The committee observed that the interactions between these two key organizations were not strategic but instead opportunistic, despite the numerous recommendations made by previous NRC studies that the Navy develop a strategic S&T plan. Due to the lack of a coherent S&T planning process, technology gaps and desired capabilities related to Naval Power 21 were not identified to the committee. As the study progressed, the committee received verbal commitments from the Chief Technology Officer of NAVAIR, representing the Commander of NAVAIR, that NAVAIR would develop a vision and a naval aviation strategic S&T plan that would address the goals of Naval Power 21. The Chief of Naval Research agreed to work with NAVAIR to develop this plan. As this study was being finalized, the committee learned that such a road map for naval aviation in the 21st century, Naval Aviation Vision 2020,13 has now been created by the Commander of Naval Air Forces, Director, Air Warfare Division in OPNAV, and the Commander of NAVAIR. Lacking for use in its study a naval aviation strategic plan at NAVAIR and OPNAV and a naval aviation strategic S&T plan at ONR for meeting the requirements of Naval Power 21, the committee developed the following approach to recommending future capabilities and associated technology developments that could form the basis of a revitalized aviation S&T program at ONR. Based on their examination of the visionary concepts and context expressed in Naval Power 21 and their personal experiences and knowledge of how the desired goals might be met, the committee’s members chose a set of of “disruptive” capabilities that, if developed by naval aviation, would have a profound effect on future network-centric warfare. The set of seven capabilities described in Chapter 2 was selected from a much larger suite of desirable capabilities considered by the committee 13   VADM James M. Zortman, USN, Commander, Naval Air Forces; VADM Walter B. Massenburg, USN, Commander, Naval Air Systems Command; and RDML Thomas J. Kilcline, Jr., USN, Director, Air Warfare Division. 2005. Naval Aviation Vision 2020, Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C. Available online at <http://www.nae.cnaf.navy.mil/demo.main.asp?ItemID=12>. Last accessed on September 30, 2005.

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Identification of Promising Naval Aviation Science and Technology Opportunities and is not meant to be exhaustive. As ONR develops its naval aviation strategic S&T plan, the committee is confident that these capabilities will rank high in consideration. In Chapter 3 the committee identifies the technology opportunities and developments that would be necessary to make the “disruptive” capabilities a reality. Committee members used their experience and expertise in relevant areas to provide a high-level assessment of technology options and to suggest where emphasis should be placed. The committee has attempted to categorize these technology developments as naval unique, naval essential, or naval relevant and to position them in the 2007 to 2010 and 2011 to 2025 time frames wherever possible. These technology development areas can provide the basis of a revitalized naval aviation S&T program at ONR, and will go a long way toward positioning naval aviation as a major contributor to the success of Naval Power 21. Finally, because of the importance of strategic planning to the success of any enterprise, the committee in Chapter 4 addresses the S&T planning processes used at ONR and makes some recommendations for change based on the successful practices of other Service branches. The committee hopes that these recommendations will be useful to ONR as it embarks on the development of a strategic S&T plan for naval aviation. The terms of reference, short biographies of committee members, and information on study activities are given in Appendixes A through C, respectively. Allocation of funding for ONR’s naval aviation program is discussed in Appendix D. Acronyms used in the report are defined in Appendix E.