A 35,000-Ship Navy? The U.S. Navy Has Some Ideas to Make It Happen

A 35,000-Ship Navy? The U.S. Navy Has Some Ideas to Make It Happen

Kris Osborn

Security,

Technology could do it. 

Key Point: The Navy’s new technology based strategy will save many servicemen’s lives.

The future of amphibious attack may consist of thousands of disaggregated manned and unmanned surveillance boats, armor-carrying connectors, minesweepers and small attack vessels operating in tandem as the Navy and Marine Corps refine a new strategic approach and continue their pivot toward a new, great-power threat environment.

The concept is to configure a dispersed, yet “networked” fleet of next-generation connectors and other smaller boats launched from big-deck amphib “mother ships.” The larger host ships are intended to operate in a command and control capacity while bringing sensors, long-range fires and 5th-generation air support to the fight.

“We envision fleets of smaller, multi-mission vessels, operating with surface warfare leadership. People talk about a 355-ship Navy, how about a 35,000-ship Navy?,” Maj. Gen. David Coffman, Director of Naval Expeditionary Warfare, told an audience at the Surface Naval Association Symposium.

Coffman explained it as a “family of combatant craft, manned and unmanned, integrated in a distributed maritime operation.”

Since potential adversaries now have longer-range weapons, better sensors, targeting technologies and computers with faster processing speeds, amphibious forces approaching the shore may need to disperse in order to make it harder for enemy forces to target them. Therefore, the notion of a disaggregated, yet interwoven attack force, less vulnerable to enemy fire, will be launched to hit “multiple landing points” to exploit enemy defenses.

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