The U.S. Navy is working on three different ship-based weapons programs to help surface ships defend against missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and surface attacks, says
And now a concluded that any one of the three new weapons, “if successfully developed and deployed, might be regarded as a ‘game changer’ for defending Navy surface ships.”
“If two or three of them are successfully developed and deployed, the result might be considered not just a game changer, but a revolution.”
The report said “rarely has the Navy had so many potential new types of surface-ship air-defense weapons simultaneously available for development and potential deployment.”
Congress will have some decisions to make on exactly what gets future support and funding.
The three systems have been identified as the Surface Navy Laser Weapon System, the electromagnetic railgun, or EMRG, and the gun-launched guided projectile, which also was known as the hypervelocity projectile.
“The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy’s funding requests and proposed acquisition strategies for these three potential new weapons,” the report said.
Among the questions: How would the systems improve the Navy’s ability to defend itself against “an adversary such as China that has or could have large numbers of missiles and UAVs”?
Also, what challenges are left in developing the different systems, and how will the systems fit into the Navy’s existing fleet?
The projects were all motivated by concern that the Navy’s surface fleet in coming years would face adversaries with large numbers of missiles. And it might need to either avoid operating in waters that are within range, or move toward a different fleet architecture that relies less on large surface ships and more on smaller fleet components and submarines.