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Updated December 28th, 2023 at 17:10 IST

U.S. Navy adopts Lockheed's game-changing Integrated Combat System amid multi-phase modernization

The classified 2023 Battle Force Ship Assessment and Requirement study indicate a recalibration of the fleet's structure with a heightened focus on frigates.

Reported by: Yuvraj Tyagi
Edited by: Yuvraj Tyagi
US Navy Troops
The envisioned 381-ship fleet underscores the need for a more extensive, capable, and distributed naval force. | Image:US Navy
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In a recent discourse, Rear Adm. Fred Pyle, Director of Surface Warfare, revealed a notable shift in the U.S. Navy's strategic priorities. Emphasizing the burgeoning importance of small combatants, Pyle provided insights from the classified 2023 Battle Force Ship Assessment and Requirement study, offering a glimpse into the Navy's evolving modernization plans. 

Against the backdrop of the force structure study, the U.S. Navy envisions a recalibration of its fleet, signaling a departure from the status quo. Pyle, in an interview with Defence News, hinted at a potential reevaluation of ongoing modernization plans, with a heightened focus on constructing frigates, particularly the Constellation-class. The study advocates for a 381-ship fleet, reinforcing the need for a more extensive, capable, and distributed naval force. 

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Future blueprint: Navigating unmanned surface vessels and fleet evolution 

As per the Defence News report, the intricacies of the Navy's multi-phase surface force modernization plan, unraveling a roadmap that spans frigate construction, integration of unmanned surface vessels, and the upgrading of existing surface ships. The initial phase, spanning FY24 to FY28, revolves around constructing the Constellation-class frigate, Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyers, and launching the Large Unmanned Surface Vessel program. Pyle acknowledged the challenges posed by integrating larger vessels into the Aegis Combat System.

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An Arabian Fox MAST-13 unmanned surface vessel attached to U.S. Naval Forces. | Credit- US Navy

Gazing into the future, the Navy's gaze turns to FY29 to FY33, where a concerted effort aims to enhance existing surface ships. The DDG Mod 2.0 program, featuring advanced radar and electronic warfare systems, emerges as the linchpin for upgrading 25 Flight IIA destroyers over a 17-year span. Pyle underscored the urgency of fully funding and efficiently executing these upgrades to fortify the Navy's warfighting capabilities. 

Lockheed's Integrated Combat System: A paradigm shift in naval warfare 

In a strategic alliance with Lockheed Martin, the Navy's modernization efforts crystallize around the Integrated Combat System. Merging the Aegis Combat System and the Ship Self-Defense System, this initiative seeks to streamline training and funding while bolstering warfighting capabilities. Lockheed's contract, valued at up to $1.1 billion over a decade, signifies a crucial step toward achieving a more cohesive and efficient combat system across diverse naval platforms. 

As the U.S. Navy sets sail on a transformative journey, the spotlight remains firmly fixed on adaptability, agility, and enhanced capabilities. Adm. Pyle's insights hint at a Navy poised to meet evolving challenges on the high seas with a fleet optimized for the demands of the future. The upcoming fiscal 2025 budget request promises to unveil more details, offering a clearer picture of the Navy's strategic roadmap. 

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Published December 28th, 2023 at 17:10 IST

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