The future of naval aviation is tied closely to an emerging concept called Integrated War- fighting Capabilities (IWC) and the F- 35’s
promised ability to collect, fuse and share intelligence
on an unprecedented scale, according to the top naval
aviation leaders and their published “vision.”
The concept stresses using nearly every platform
and system in the naval air inventory, in addition to its
stated primary mission: to gather information in any
possible form and rapidly relay it to other platforms to
facilitate their missions, and to the command network
to help create a comprehensive common air picture
that will enhance the total force effort.
Naval Aviation Vision 2014-2025, issued in April 2014
by the Navy and Marine Corps aviation leadership, says a
fundamental principle of IWC is “to identify, prioritize,
and resolve high-priority gaps in kill and effects chains,”
and touts “sensor fusion” as a key means to do that.
“Today’s complex and networked battle space
demands that key information be collected and shared as
rapidly as possible with those who require it, in a com-
mon and usable format, whenever
and wherever required,” the docu-
ment declares. “The Navy can main-
tain a decisive information advan-
tage over potential adversaries by
fielding an optimal mix of maritime
airborne ISR [intelligence, surveil-
lance and reconnaissance] systems
and supporting capabilities.”
To make IWC operational, “in
many ways, we’re moving out of the
single-mission platform,” Marine
The primary example of that approach is the F- 35
Lightning II joint strike fighter, with two variants that
the Navy and the Marine Corps will fly.
The F- 35 “comes with stealth capability, the ability
to penetrate the threat envelope,” VADM Michael
Shoemaker, commander, Naval Air Forces, and commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said at the
same CSIS event.
“But, perhaps most importantly, it brings the ability
to fuse information, the threats and signals that are out
in the environment, fuse it all together and deliver that
to the strike group,” he said.
The F- 35 will be “very critical to the integrated
warfighting capability we want in the future [carrier]
air wing,” Shoemaker said.
Davis expanded on that issue, noting that the
Marines had declared initial operational capability for
their first F-35B squadron, VMFA-121, on July 31.
“The F- 35 for us is that fifth-generation platform
that I think is going to change warfare as much as the
New Navy, Marine Corps concept strives to make
‘every platform a sensor, every platform a shooter’
By OTTO KREISHER, Special Correspondent
Collect, Fuse and Share
The Naval Aviation Vision 2014-2025, issued in April 2014 by the
Navy and Marine Corps aviation leadership, lays out the fundamental principles of Integrated Warfighting Capabilities (IWC).
■ To make the IWC operational, the services are moving away
from single-mission platforms.
■ The primary example of this approach is the F- 35 Lightning II
joint strike fighter, which demonstrated air interdiction, offensive
counter-air and armed reconnaissance capabilities to prove it was
ready for combat.
■ New fixed- and rotary-wing surveillance platforms also are
capable of performing multiple missions to contribute to the integrated warfighting effort.