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Navy Adm. Ron Boxall on Unmanned Surface Vessels, Future Frigates

Navy Adm. Ron Boxall, surface warfare director OPNAV N96, has said his goal for 2019 is to bring more weapons and sensors into the battlespace to enable larger combat ships to serve as command and control for smaller vessels, Defense News reported Wednesday.

“If you think about what we are trying to do with the surface force, we have large and small surface combatants that will [ultimately make up part of the 355-ship Navy] but we have no requirement for unmanned surface vessels right now, which I see as an absolutely critical part of distributed lethality, distributed maritime operations environment that we are moving into,” Boxall said.

“Ultimately I need more nodes out there,” he added.

The report said the Navy is expected to finalize the requirements for its FFG(X) guided-missile frigates in 2019 with plans to award the design and construction contract by 2020.

“It will be a very capable ship, but it won’t have a lot of capacity,” Boxall said of FFG(X).

“But it will be able to both sense and shoot and do command and control at a smaller level,” he added.

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