The U.S. Navy has formed a group that will define the design and purpose of the service’s next large surface ship, Defense News reported Monday.
Rear Adm. Ron Boxall, director of the office of the Chief of Naval Operations Director of Surface Warfare, said the service seeks a ship that is big and flexible enough to be easily modified and equipped with energy-extensive weapons such as electromagnetic rail guns and laser systems.
The Navy also wants its future surface vessel to have removable panels, larger vertical launch system launchers and Raytheon’s AN/SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar.
Boxall added that the service wants its new new ship to accommodate unmanned vehicles as the service begins deploying drones in its operations.
The OPNAV N96 head also said that the Navy intends to initiate the acquisition process in 2019, then procure a new surface ship by 2023 or 2024.