The US Navy has successfully tested interoperability of an aircraft carrier strike group's (CSG) combat systems with surface and air assets during a demonstration at the cybernetic laboratory, USS Dahlgren.

During the demonstration, the USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) CSG’s virtual and hardware representations of combat systems were brought together for the engagement coordination for the first time in a land-based environment.

Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) combat control scientist Neil Baron said: "This demonstration integrated capabilities across multiple laboratories, utilising unmanned and manned sensor platforms, engaging a hostile swarm threat of surface craft attacking a virtual naval battlegroup consisting of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, an Aegis class cruiser and an Independence-class littoral combat ship."

"This demonstration integrated capabilities across multiple laboratories, utilising unmanned and manned sensor platforms."

The event's first scenario witnessed simulated engagements on manoeuvring targets to demonstrate the navy's use of manned and unmanned platforms for early over-the-horizon detection and tracking, as well as future unmanned surface vehicle engagements.

Additionally, naval engineers used a 30mm gun to conduct a live fire engagement from their littoral combat ship's (LCS) surface warfare (SUW) mission package command and control laboratory against fictitious surface threats on the Potomac River Test Range.

The live fire events were intended to demonstrate the integration capability of the existing operational systems such as the MH-60R and MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopters, the Aegis Combat System and the Ship Self-Defense System, along with new technologies like the virtual automatic scoring system (VASS).

NSWCDD’s VASS adjusts targeting for gunners by calculating gunfire miss distances to keep the forward observers unharmed.

The exercise also saw participation from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), which engaged its Surface Aviation Interoperability Lab 'RoadHawk' tractor trailer with its MH-60R Sea Hawk surface attack helicopter's avionics suite and a mobile van, which ferried an MH-60S helicopter.

NAWCAD Integrated Battlespace Simulation and Test Department director Amy Markowich said: "By utilising multiple laboratories and live capabilities across the navy, we are able to model a very realistic, complex battle space environment to thoroughly test our weapon systems.

"Combining live, virtual and constructive assets such as the Roadhawk, virtualised and hardware-in-the-loop ship simulations, and the LCS 30 millimetre gun here at Dahlgren, make it possible to evaluate how multiple navy assets will work together easily and at a much reduced cost."

Image: USS New York fires its MK46 30mm gun during a live-fire exercise. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cyrus Roson/Released.