Approaches to reducing a surface ship's signatures range from evolutionary alterations to ships' structures to revolutionary designs that could change completely our concept of the warship. To achieve the latter, stealth must be part of the design process from the start.
Survivability is one of the most important attributes of surface ships, and as the public becomes more sensitive to casualties and our ships become more expensive, it has become more critical than ever. Total ship survivability (TSS), a systems-engineering approach to survivability, ensures a more efficient incorporation of ruggedness into new ship designs and acquisitions. Stealth is a major element of survivability because it helps prevent damage and reduces demands on defensive systems, but in each case, stealth must be directed at a specific set of ship objectives. Because stealth is relatively new to surface ships and fundamental to ship design and operation, a new organizational approach to stealth is needed.