Comparison of combat system architectures for future surface combatants

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Virginia Tech

Between the years 2010 and 2020 the majority of today's U.S. navy's surface combatants will reach the end of their expected service life. Concurrently, there is a planned reduction in the overall size of the U.S. Naval surface fleet. The net result is that there will be fewer ships available to accomplish the same set of requirements. Therefore, the combat system for any new surface combatant must support a multimission role. The characteristics of that combat system have not yet been determined. More importantly, the combat system architecture, the structure which governs how the various components are interconnected, is still undefined.

Several different concepts are being considered for this architecture. A comparison of two of these concepts, the current Aegis Baseline 4 architecture and a new architecture called the Combat System Superset concept, is the subject of this project. The study evaluates the two concepts against both force level and single ship level effectiveness measures. The investigation focuses on how well each design concept supports antisurface warfare, a representative mission area required of all surface combatants. The project concludes that, within the scope of the investigation, the Superset concept is preferred, and recommends areas for further study.