US Navy wraps up annual at-sea experiment Trident Warrior

USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) supported Trident Warrios experiments while taking part in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. Photo: US Navy

The US Navy concluded its annual large-scale, at-sea field experiment Trident Warrior 2018 (TW18) which took place in conjunction with exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).

At the forefront of TW18 was Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) which worked directly with the fleet to increase the speed at which new and emerging technologies are put into the hands of the warfighter.

Now in its 16th year, Trident Warrior allows the navy to identify warfighting capability gaps and provide innovative solutions in an operational environment.

SPAWAR scientists and engineers joined multiple navy organizations at TW18, to work on more than 28 key maritime initiatives.

“Our Navy and our nation are experiencing an unprecedented degree of competition in the maritime environment,” said SPAWAR Commander Rear Adm. Christian Becker. “Trident Warrior is one effort to increase the pace of technology delivery, ensuring U.S. interests are protected around the world, and allowing us the ability to compete and win today, tomorrow and in coming decades.”

During the event, SPAWAR experimented with a variety of technologies, including warfare systems, cybersecurity capabilities, and network and communication capabilities.

The Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I) led a command and control experimentation effort conducting four sets of tests, one of which included testing a new suite of artificial intelligence technologies. The test provides assessment and prediction tools to evaluate the operational environment in real time.

Additionally, SPAWAR executed the CyberSafe initiative, where multiple organizations conducted experimentation scenarios using integrated forces afloat, aloft and ashore. The experiment’s purpose was to test the fleet’s in a cyber-attack.

“We conducted more than 30 hours of testing over six days with approximately 80 observation logs collected,” said Richard Weiss, Trident Warrior focus area lead for CyberSafe. “The experiment successfully assessed a network conditions construct for use as a warfighting tool to enable all levels of naval forces to protect designated mission capabilities and respond to compromised mission systems.”

SPAWAR also worked alongside Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory during the testing of Light Fidelity (Li-Fi), a next-generation secure mobile networking technology that transmits data over commercial light-emitting diode lighting infrastructure that creates Li-Fi hotspots for internet/intranet network connectivity that is identical to Wi-Fi.

“Li-Fi testing was conducted aboard USS Carl Vinson,” said Mark Steers, Trident Warrior focus area lead for Li-Fi. “Over the course of three days of flight ops with over 100 recoveries and catapult launches, the experiment determined the operational impact of real flight operations. The test concluded that despite the significant shock, vibration and noise of the flight operations occurring on the flight deck above, there was no measurable negative impact on the wireless communication link.”

Experiments were conducted on board and in coordination with more than 20 Navy platforms including USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), USS Dewey (DDG 105), USS Sterett (DDG 104), USS Halsey (DDG 97) and the experimental medium-displacement unmanned surface vehicle (MDUSV), known as Sea Hunter.

“It is paramount to never lose sight of who our customer is at the end of the day, and that is the fleet,” said Daniel Hallock, Trident Warrior deputy director. “We shouldn’t do development in a bubble. Our research and development efforts need to be exposed to the end users early and often to ensure we’re providing relevant technologies and solutions.”

TW18 was conducted in and around the Hawaiian Islands and off the coast of Southern California, in conjunction with the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).

“It is fiscally prudent to incorporate Trident Warrior experimentation into the RIMPAC,” said Capt. Chris Sund, experimentation and innovation director, Commander U.S. Third Fleet. “By conducting experimentation concurrently with RIMPAC, the Navy doesn’t incur additional costs associated with scheduling assets and forces for the sole purpose of experimentation.”

Next year’s event is scheduled for July-August, 2019 off the coast of southern California. Participants will take what they learned this year and apply it to new developments and experiments in an effort to speed the development and deployment of warfighting technologies.

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