The funding storm clouds on the horizon for the Department of Defense in 2012 came to fruition with the fiscal crisis of 2013. With Congress unable or unwilling to take action on a workable federal budget, all U.S. government agencies were required to take a cut in their funding. The resulting scramble for dollars resulted in a slowdown for the U.S. Navy in current weapon-system procurement and in establishment of new programs.
F-35 Lightning II: The Joint Strike Fighter program continued to work its way through the development testing phase in 2013. The single-engined, single-seat F-35 is equipped with several revolutionary systems, most of which require ultra-sophisticated software/hardware integration. It is this integration that is making it difficult to field the F-35 as a complete weapon system and do it on schedule. Ongoing data-fusion issues continue to trouble the development program, especially in the area of helmet integration with the AAQ-37 Distributed Apeture System. This system warns the pilot of incoming aircraft and missile threats as well as providing day and night vision, weapon-control information, and tracking of friendly aircraft during tactical maneuvering. Also, the software that will allow the F-35 to actually employ weapons and fly routinely at night and in instrument-flight-rules conditions is at least one year behind schedule. Another system behind schedule is the computer-based Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), which provides the information infrastructure to support maintenance of the aircraft and supply-chain management. Until the ALIS is brought up to speed, proper maintenance of the F-35 requires workarounds and manual intervention.
F-35B: The Marine Corps’ F-35B short-takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL) variant was in a three-pronged mode with testing at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland; a training squadron, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 actively working in new pilots at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida; and an operational squadron, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, Arizona.
The STOVL version of the Lightning II returned to an underway Navy aircraft carrier for the F-35B’s second round of sea trials. The first carrier-suitability testing was performed on board the USS Wasp (LDH-1) in October 2011. In August 2013 two F-35Bs returned to the Wasp for more at-sea testing. Known as Developmental Test Phase Two or DT-II, the ten-day deployment off the East Coast expanded the allowable launch-and-recovery wind-over-the-deck envelope, saw the first shipboard night operations for the Lightning II, and further evaluated maintenance procedures as they pertain to a deployed F-35 airframe.
F-35C: The Navy’s F-35C carrier-based version continued tests at Pax River, as well as a Navy training squadron, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101 at Eglin. The first Lockheed Martin production model F-35C carrier variant, designated CF-6, first took to the air on 14 February 2013 at the Lockheed Martin Fort Worth plant. It was delivered to VFA-101 at Eglin AFB on 22 June, and it flew its first training mission on 14 August.
When the F-35C first flew in 2010, it was scheduled to undergo its first at-sea carrier-suitability tests in 2013. During initial land-based arrestment testing, it was discovered that the original design of the tailhook prevented it from consistently engaging a carrier’s arresting-gear cross-deck pendant. After a redesign of the tailhook’s shape and stiffening of the tailhook dampening mechanism, flight tests began at Pax River in late 2013. The F-35C is scheduled to go to sea for the first time in October 2014 for carrier-suitability tests.
F/A-18E/F Super Hornet: First deployed to the Fleet in 1999, the Super Hornet is a mature weapon system that is gradually replacing the legacy F/A-18A and C models in U.S. Navy service. The aircraft has been successful, but the APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar’s reliability continues to have problems stemming from software instability.
The Boeing-funded Advanced Super Hornet program was created to explore methods of increasing the F/A-18E/F’s and EA-18G’s aerodynamic performance and reduce its radar cross-section. Conformal fuel tanks, designed to carry up to 3,500 pounds of fuel and fabricated by Northrop Grumman, were mounted on the upper fuselage at the wing juncture of a leased F/A-18F then flown in a short test program at the Boeing plant in St. Louis, Missouri, and at Patuxent River. The tanks were designed to cause minimal aerodynamic drag in the cruise configuration, although the transonic performance is expected to suffer. Other improvements to the Super Hornet being proposed include a stealthy external-weapons pod that will allow the aircraft to fly farther with more weapons, an improved cockpit instrument display, and an infrared search-and-track system to allow for passive acquisition and recognition of unknown targets.
EA-18G Growler: The Growler entered the Fleet in 2009 as a replacement for the EA-6B in Navy service. It is based on the two-seat F/A-18F and shares the same offensive radar and missile-launch system as the Super Hornet. The Growler currently utilizes the ALQ-99 electronic attack suite of external pods originally designed for the EA-6B in the late 1960s. Incremental upgrades to the system have kept it updated to modern threats, but the external ram-air-turbine propellers for power generation, as well as general obsolescence of the electronics, have resulted in the development of the Next Generation Jammer, scheduled for an initial operating capability (IOC) in 2020. The conformal overwing external fuel tanks that Boeing has proposed for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet are also being pushed for the Growler. The effectiveness of the Next Generation Jammer pods mounted on wing stations would be enhanced by not having external fuel tanks getting in the way of the jamming signals.
E-2D Advanced Hawkeye: A replacement for the E-2C, the E-2D introduces a strengthened fuselage to support increased aircraft weight plus significant upgrades of the radar system, the communications suite, and the mission computer. The aircraft also incorporates an all-glass cockpit that permits the copilot to act as a tactical operator in support of the three dedicated system operators in the rear fuselage. The radar upgrade replaces the E-2C mechanically scanned radar with a phased-array radar that has combined mechanical and electronic scan capabilities.
Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125, based at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, became the Navy’s first operational E-2D Advanced Hawkeye squadron when it was declared safe for flight in January 2014. By qualifying a sufficient number of trained air crews to operate its aircraft in a safe manner, it was a milestone on the way to the aircraft’s IOC designation in October 2014 en route to a deployment with Carrier Air Wing 1 in late 2014 or early 2015.
P-8A Poseidon: Designed as a replacement for the P-3C Orion, the first production P-8A Poseidon antisubmarine aircraft was delivered by Boeing to the Navy in March 2012. Based on the commercial 737-800ERX airliner, the P-8A is primarily a submarine hunter but also has installed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors. It can be armed with bombs, torpedoes, depth charges, and air-to-surface missiles.
In July 2012, the VP-16 War Eagles began their transition from the P-3C to the P-8A and became the first to deploy with the Poseidon when they left for the Western Pacific in late 2013. The VP-5 Mad Foxes became the second P-3 squadron to transition when they received their first aircraft in August 2013 with the VP-45 Pelicans close behind.
MV-22B Osprey: The MV-22B is well on its way to being a mature system as most CH-46s in Marine Corps squadron service have been replaced by the MV-22, including the first Marine Corps Reserve unit, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 764 at MCAS Miramar, Florida.
The presidential support squadron, Marine Helicopter Squadron (HMX) 1, received the first of 12 Ospreys to be operated by the squadron in May 2013. The HMX-1 tiltrotors will carry presidential support staff and news media representatives traveling with the President but will not carry the President himself.
In an August 2013 demonstration over northern Texas, a V-22 equipped with a prototype aerial-refueling system deployed and retracted the refueling drogue as a pair of F/A-18 Hornets flew in close proximity to the Osprey. The system makes use of onboard tanks as well as a roll-on/roll-off bladder. Depending on mission profile, the system is designed to transfer upward of 12,000 pounds of fuel.
CH-53K Super Stallion: Sikorsky delivered the first prototype CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter Ground Test Vehicle (GTV) to its West Palm Beach, Florida, test site in December 2012. The GTV will be used for powered ground checks in preparation to the four follow-on flight-test helicopters that will be flying in 2014–15.
The GTV is designed to check out the CH-53K helicopter’s engines, rotor blades, transmission, and auxiliary systems while the aircraft is anchored to the ground. Testing by Sikorsky and Naval Air Systems Command (NavAir) test pilots will confirm whether these dynamic systems, as well as hydraulic, electrical, and avionics components, comply with contract requirements. Initial light-off tests were performed without rotor blades in December 2013 and will be followed by ground tests with blades attached in 2014.
Though designed with the same footprint as the legacy CH-53E, the CH-53K will triple the external load-carrying capacity to more than 27,000 pounds over more than 110 nautical miles under “high hot” ambient conditions. New and improved systems for the increased lift capacity include 7,500-shaft-horsepower GE38-1B engines, a split-torque transmission design that more efficiently distributes engine power to the main rotors and composite rotor blades in addition to a lighter and stronger composite airframe structure. The CH-53K is scheduled to become operational in 2019 with a total buy for the Marine Corps of 200 helos.
MZ-3A: The U.S. Navy’s only manned airship, designated MZ-3A, is a modified American Blimp Corporation A-170 series commercial blimp stationed at NAS Patuxent River and operated by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and Scientific Development Squadron 1. The civilian-crewed 178-foot lighter-than-air craft can remain aloft and nearly stationary for more than 12 hours, performing various missions in support of technology development for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance concepts. There were reports in 2012 that money to operate the airship had run out and the program was going into a “deflate, crate, and out the gate” mode, but additional funding was obtained to fly it through 2013.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)
MQ-8B Fire Scout: The Navy’s 28 Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scouts are currently seeing service in South America, Africa, and Southwest Asia. MQ-8Bs were deployed on board the USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG-49) in early 2013, the Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) in mid-2013, and the Simpson (FFG-56) in late 2013, providing ISR support to special-operations forces and U.S. Navy antipiracy actions on the unmanned helicopter’s fifth, sixth, and seventh deployments. The Simpson deployment was the setting for the Navy’s military-utility assessment to evaluate Fire Scout’s readiness for IOC.
A team of Navy sailors and Northrop Grumman employees returned from a 28-month land-based Afghanistan deployment supporting the ISR task force with full-motion video for the Army’s 37th Infantry Brigade combat team.
The MQ-8B Fire Scout has integrated the Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) laser-guided 70-mm rocket that allows ship commanders to identify and engage hostile targets without putting pilots in harm’s way or calling in other aircraft for support. Live-fire demonstrations at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, proved the operational system is ready to deploy.
The MQ-8B Fire Scout is also integrating the Telephonics AN/ZYP-4 maritime radar to provide persistent wide-area search capabilities. The program has progressed through the preliminary-design technical-integration meeting and critical design review, and a fit check of the new radar has been completed.
MQ-8C Fire Scout: The follow-on aircraft to the MQ-8B Fire Scout is an unmanned version of the commercial Bell 407 helicopter, designated the Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Endurance Upgrade. Combining the basic MQ-8B systems, including the existing ship-installed ground-control station, data links, and automatic-recovery system of the Fire Scout, the MQ-8C will provide the Navy with twice the range and endurance and three times the payload capacity over the existing MQ-8B. The MQ-8C’s capabilities were validated by the Northrop Grumman/Bell Helicopter Fire-X demonstration program, which first flew in December 2010. The first flight of an MQ-8C was on 31 October 2013 at NAS Point Mugu, California, occurring only 17 months after contract award. The Navy has paid for 14 of the larger MQ-8C variants, including two demonstration airframes.
X-47B: The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System is the flight-test demonstration project for the first unmanned fixed-wing aircraft designed to operate from an aircraft carrier. After flight testing at Edwards AFB in 2012, the two project vehicles were shipped to NAS Patuxent River for carrier-suitability tests.
The X-47B participated in its first at-sea test in late 2012 on board the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75). The X-47B was towed about the ship using carrier-based tractors and was also taxied under its own power on the flight deck. Trials included spotting on catapults and taxiing over arresting wires while receiving signals from a man-mounted control-display unit. It was also tested to verify that its digital engine controls functioned correctly in an environment with strong electromagnetic fields. The ship’s crew also conducted fueling operations and moved the X-47B up and down the ship’s elevators between the flight deck and hangar bay.
In May 2013, an X-47B completed its first-ever arrested landing ashore at Pax River. Later in May, an X-47B became the first unmanned aircraft to be launched from a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier when it was catapulted from the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77). Also in May, the X-47B performed touch-and-goes on the Bush’s flight deck. On 10 July, an X-47B took off from NAS Patuxent River, and once in the offshore operating area a mission operator on board the Bush assumed control of the aircraft and monitored its flight operations, but had no active control. The flight included several planned precision approaches and two arrested landings and catapult shots on board the carrier.
In November 2013, the X-47B test vehicles conducted more at-sea testing, this time on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). Tests included deck handling, carrier approaches and landings in varying wind conditions, ship-systems interfaces, and concept-of-operations development. The tests also provided an opportunity for the second X-47B to make an appearance, marking the first time both aircraft appeared together on board an aircraft carrier.
Demonstration of autonomous aerial refueling by the X-47B is planned for 2014.
MQ-4C/RQ-4 BAMS Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS): With the Navy’s ocean and overland electronic-surveillance aircraft, the EP-3E, retiring in the 2020s, and a follow-on aircraft-procurement program dead in the water, the Navy has opted to go with a combination of the P-8A Poseidon and an unmanned aircraft, the MQ-4C Triton. The P-8 will assume the antisubmarine and maritime-surveillance missions of the P-3 but will not be deployed in the numbers of the P-3. The MQ-4 will work in conjunction with the P-8 Poseidon to enhance data-collection missions that will include ocean surveillance, intelligence gathering, battle-damage assessment, communications relay, and support for other traditional Navy missions in the maritime and overland environments. The Triton will fly 24-hour missions at altitudes greater than 50,000 feet and will be able to monitor more than a 2,000-nautical-mile area.
To gain experience in unmanned aircraft operations, the Navy obtained five former U.S. Air Force RQ-4B Global Hawks in 2008 and pressed them into test and operational service as the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstrator (BAMS-D) program. Some of the BAMS-D aircraft were operated in tests from NAS Patuxent River and some were forward-deployed to the Middle East, providing ISR in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility, where they have exceeded 10,000 flight hours of surveillance time. BAMS-D provides more than 50 percent of the maritime ISR for the 5th Fleet, freeing manned maritime-patrol ships and aircraft to perform other missions.
The Navy unveiled the first MQ-4C in ceremonies at Northrop Grumman facilities in Palmdale, California, on 14 June 2012. Due to a series of system-integration and software problems, the MQ-4C’s first flight was delayed until 22 May 2013.
Although the 130-foot-wingspan Triton is based on the Air Force’s RQ-4B Global Hawk, its sensors will be composed of some already fielded in the DOD inventory including the ZPY-3 multifunction active-sensor radar system. The Triton will also carry an electro-optical/infrared sensor to provide full-motion video and still imagery of surface targets, an electronic support-measures system to detect, identify, and geo-locate radar-threat signals, and an automatic identification-system (AIS) receiver to permit the detection, identification, geo-location, and tracking of vessels equipped with AIS transponders.
Cargo Resupply UAS: The K-MAX unmanned helicopter is the result of a partnership between Kaman Corporation and Lockheed Martin, combining Kaman’s heavy-lift K-1200 airframe with Lockheed Martin’s mission-management and control systems. In a test of the system, NavAir shipped two Lockheed Kaman K-MAX helicopters to southern Afghanistan in December 2011 along with the Marines’ Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) 1 and a team of Lockheed contractors to fly and maintain the unmanned helicopter from December 2011 to May 2012. The K-MAX remained in Afghanistan after VMU-1 left in May, and VMU-2 took over its operation with Lockheed’s help.
While it supports manned operation, in the unmanned mode K-MAX can fly by itself day or night and at higher altitudes with a larger payload than any other rotary-wing unmanned craft. Two K-MAX helicopters had been flying in Afghanistan, but one crashed in June 2013. The helicopter was not destroyed and will be shipped back to the United States for repairs.
Marines and defense contractors operating the K-MAX have been loading and unloading the unmanned helicopter while the cargo UAS remains in a hover, allowing the Marines to fly more missions and demonstrating confidence in the aircraft.
Lockheed and Kaman have also introduced a system that, when turned on, will allow the K-MAX to fly directly to within ten feet of a beacon small enough for a Marine to carry on his pack. This could eventually result in units being resupplied while on the move.
The Marine Corps originally extended the first deployment from May 2012 until September, then it was given another extension until March 2013, and then a third extension was granted to keep the K-MAX deployed through 2014.
The USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78): Construction continued on the new class of nuclear aircraft carrier at the Newport News Shipbuilding (a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries) facility in Newport News, Virginia. Improvements over the ten Nimitz-class carriers currently in service include a redesigned flight deck and island structure, increased electrical-generation capability, electromagnetic aircraft launch-and-recovery equipment, a decreased manpower requirement, and state-of-the art sensors and electronic systems. The Ford’s keel was laid on 14 November 2009, the last portion of her structure was installed on 8 May 2013, and she was christened in ceremonies held 9 November. CVN-78 is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in 2016.
The USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79): The second Ford-class aircraft carrier is the second ship named after the 35th President of the United States; the first, CVA/CV-67, served from 1967 to 2007. Fabrication on the new Kennedy was begun in early 2011, and delivery to the Navy is tentatively scheduled for 2020.
The USS Enterprise (CVN-80): During the 1 December 2012 inactivation ceremony of the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that CVN-80 also would be called the Enterprise, the ninth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name. CVN-80 will be built by Newport News Shipbuilding starting in 2018, for delivery in 2025. However, in an effort to cut down on Navy expenditures as a result of budget cuts, construction may be delayed and stretched out by as many as two years for both the John F. Kennedy and Enterprise.
Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS): JPALS is an all-weather landing system that uses GPS and navigation systems to guide aircraft to both land- and sea-based landings. JPALS completed a round of testing on board the USS George H. W. Bush in May 2013. Testing on board the carrier used the latest JPALS software with two F/A-18C Hornets from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23, and an MH-60S helicopter from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 21, from NAS Patuxent River. An instrumented Beechcraft King Air was also used as a test aircraft.
Multistatic Active Coherent (MAC) Source Sonobouys: The MAC system is an active sonar system composed of source and receiver buoys and an acoustic-processing software suite. It is slated to be employed by the Navy’s P-3C and P-8A maritime-patrol aircraft to search for and locate threat submarines in a variety of ocean conditions. The Navy awarded a subcontract in February 2013 to ERAPSCO, a joint venture between Sparton and Ultra Electronics and UnderSea Sensor Systems Incorporated, for AN/SSQ-125 MAC source sonobuoys. Initial operational testing of the MAC system on a P-3C aircraft was held in October 2013. Featuring digital signal-processing and compass capabilities, the A-size, expendable AN/SSQ-125 enables ASW aircraft crews to perform bearing verification, target localization, and tracking. The underwater signaling-and-receiving device allows accurate detection of quiet diesel submarines or underwater vessels in attack mode in adverse conditions. Testing to understand the effects different threat types and environments have on performance will continue through Fiscal Year 2019 in conjunction with the P-8 program.
Next-Generation Jammer (NGJ): The Navy is moving ahead with development of the NGJ to replace the current ALQ-99 pod-mounted active electronic-countermeasures jammer currently in use on EA-6B Prowlers and EA-18G Growlers. Studies began in 2008 with four companies competing. NavAir released a request for proposals in July 2012 for the NGJ technology-development (TD) contract. This is a follow-on to the technology-maturation efforts that began in 2009 with contracts awarded to BAE Systems, ITT Exelis, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon. The TD contract winner was to demonstrate technology maturity through a series of laboratory demonstrations and flight tests on board contractor test aircraft on a government electronic-warfare range.
In July 2013, Raytheon was awarded an initial $279 million contract for the NGJ engineering, manufacturing, and development phase that will address integration of the NGJ with the EA-18G and the fabrication of developmental test pods. Soon thereafter, BAE filed an official protest with the Government Accountability Office raising concerns with the Navy’s evaluation process. The Navy reevaluated the proposals and reaffirmed its decision to keep the NGJ contract with Raytheon.
Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM): The AGM-88E AARGM is the follow-on to the AGM-88B/C High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) using a new guidance section with a modified HARM control section and fins. The Navy will employ the AARGM on F/A-18C/D/E/F and EA-18G aircraft. According to the DOD’s Operational Test and Evaluation organization, the AARGM program remains operationally suitable but not operationally effective due to multiple deficiencies. Testing scheduled to begin in 2014 will address the missile’s shortcomings and help it attain full operational capability, planned for September 2014. AARGM achieved IOC in July 2012 and has been in full-rate production since August 2012.
Advanced Precision-Kill Weapon System II (APKWS II): The APKWS II incorporates a WGU-59/B precision-guidance laser-guided seeker on existing Hydra 70, 2.75-inch rocket motors and warheads in the Navy inventory. The APKWS is an “unpack and shoot” system using existing rocket launchers and requiring no platform integration or aircraft modifications. As it is loaded and fired as a standard 2.75-inch rocket, minimal aircrew or ordnance-loading crew training is required. This makes for a low-cost, mid-range weapon with either high-explosive or flechette warheads that lends itself to urban warfare launched from fixed-wing, rotary-wing, or unmanned aircraft. The rocket is currently certified for use on AH-1W, UH-1Y, MQ-8B and Bell 407GT helicopters, and is in testing to certify it for other rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft.
AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder: By the end of 2012 the Raytheon AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder was halfway through operational testing and was performing better than expected in most areas. One improvement over the AIM-9X Block I is the lock-on after-launch mode that allows the missile to be fired without the infrared seeker head locked onto the target. A data link similar to the one in the AIM-120D AMRAAM enables it to receive target updates from the launching aircraft. On 29 July 2013, the Navy’s Program Executive Office for Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation formally decertified AIM-9X Block II because of deficiencies affecting missile performance discovered during initial operational testing and evaluation. As of November 2013, the root causes of these deficiencies were still under investigation.
Long-Range Antiship Missile (LRASM): Viewed as an AGM-84 Harpoon replacement, the LRASM is an antiship missile being developed for the Navy by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Lockheed Martin. LRASM is an autonomous, precision-guided antiship standoff missile based on the AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile—Extended Range, and is designed to be fielded by both the Navy and Air Force. Armed with a penetrator and blast-fragmentation warhead, LRASM can be launched from either an aircraft or ship and then cruise autonomously in all weather conditions. The missile employs a multimodal sensor suite, data link, and digital-jamming-resistant GPS to detect and destroy selected targets within a group of seaborne surface contacts. LRASM technology is designed to reduce dependence on ISR platforms, network links, and GPS navigation that could be denied in some electronic-warfare environments. With proper funding and testing, the LRASM could be ready for deployment in 2018.
Spike Missile: The Spike, a forward-firing miniature munition designed by the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) China Lake, is an example of a successful government weapon program using modular design and commercial-off-the-shelf components at a much lower cost than traditional military weapons. Spike is a small multipurpose missile that can be launched from the ground or the air, and is being developed to be shoulder-fired. Several Spike missiles can also been loaded on a single mount to engage multiple targets. To date, more than 26 test missiles have been built and tested with more than 10 successful full-scale tests completed.
In 2012, at an annual counter-UAV exercise at NAWCWD Point Mugu, the Army Research and Development Engineering Command (ARDEC) from Picatinny Arsenal was one of several participants. The Picatinny team demonstrated a Palletized Protection System (PPS) that used a radar to detect airborne and ground-based targets and cue a mounted camera. Discussions between engineers from NAWCWD and ARDEC led to the idea of integrating a Spike missile with the system to engage the detected targets. The integration of Spike with PPS was successfully demonstrated in 2013 at NAWCWD China Lake against an airborne target.
NAWCWD continues to work with the Army to refine requirements. The ultimate goal is to field Spike either as a program of record or through a rapid development-and-delivery effort.