Naval aviation's capabilities for maritime intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance are getting a boost, courtesy of a new concept: the Family of Systems.
In December 2013 the first squadron of P-8A Poseidon aircraft will deploy to the Pacific—not only reaffirming the Navy's commitment to antisubmarine warfare (ASW), but also marking an important milestone in the U.S. maritime strategy. One of the key tenets of this strategy combines mutually supportive elements into a sum greater than its parts: the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force Family of Systems. It consists of the P-3C Orion, the P-8A Poseidon, the EP-3 Aries, the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and associated tactical operations centers. The Family of Systems concept is a first for naval aviation and may prove to be the blueprint for weapon-system acquisitions and delivery to the Fleet. This model for managing and resourcing various weapons and support systems reduces total ownership cost while coordinating capabilities and capacity without being redundant.