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The Marines And Navy To Test Emerging Technologies in April; Can Defense Suppliers Make Windfall?

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The Marines And Navy To Test Emerging Technologies in April; Can Defense Suppliers Make Windfall?

The Marine Corps and the Navy swear by the most modern and emerging technologies, as they seek to bridge the gap in capability. Will this translate to gains for the defense contractors?

The U.S. Marine Corps, or USMC, is part of the U.S. Armed Forces, vested with the responsibility of providing combined-arm task forces rapidly on land, at sea or in the air. The USMC uses the mobility of the U.S. Navy in achieving this objective.

An article carried by C4ISRNET said the duo is getting ready for a major exercise to test new technologies and, in the process, take care of any capability gaps.

The Testing Schedule

The report said the Ship to Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation, or S2ME2, Advanced Naval Technology Exercise, or ANTX, is scheduled to be held in late April at Camp Pendleton, California.

What Prompted The Move?

The USMC sees two reasons for advocating this exercise:

    1. The outfit has had to contend with technologically inferior adversaries for over a decade.
    2. At the same time, the near-peer adversaries have learned what the United States is doing and have tried to simulate it by investing in technology and concepts. Consequently, they are equipped to compete and win against their U.S counterparts.

"Our challenge is in the information age trying to leverage technology to come up with solutions to be able to maintain the capability of projecting power against a near-peer competitor in a forcible way," said Col. Daniel Sullivan, chief of staff for the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory.

Capability Concepts

The unique feature of the exercise is the input, collaboration and side-by-side participation of war fighters and members of the science and technology community. Based on the planning, the USMC determined five capability concepts, which are perceived to be key to the success for a future threat environment. The capabilities include:

  • Ship to shore maneuver.
  • Amphibious fire support and effects.
  • Clear amphibious assault lanes.
  • Amphibious command and control, communications, and computers (C4).
  • Amphibious information warfare.

Elaborating on the exercise, Maj. Jim Foley, a plans officer with the Ellis Group spoke of unmanned surface vessels doing maneuvers at sea, remotely operated ground vehicles coming to shore through the surf zone with other unmanned ground systems doing fire support. The operational piece would also include fleet marines and soldiers.

The Shortlisting

Over 100 technologies would be assessed, with the best performing technologies applied to future full-scale exercises with blue on red forces. The services will also test operating environments requiring seamless integration of capabilities across all domains of warfare. Integration of unmanned systems is also given thrust, as it would avoid risking lives of Marines in early insertion.

Acquisition: The Final Piece Of The Jigsaw Puzzle

Subsequently, upon identifying the concepts, the focus shifts to acquisition of tools that should go to the war fighters. Underlining the need to quickly ramp up, the USMC set up a Rapid Capabilities Office in late 2016 to accelerate prototyping, demonstration, experimentation, and limited equipping of emerging capabilities.

The Final Act

The most valuable technologies will be tried out during the Bold Alligator exercise in October in North Carolina with the II Marine Expeditionary Force. This would leave the USMC with solutions ready for integration.

Some Emerging Technologies That Could Change The Defense Landscape

  • Drones.
  • Autonomous Weapons.
  • Wearable Devices to track bodily functions to optimize health and performance.
  • Additive manufacturing-3D printing, which will help make replacement parts in the field using some locally available materials.
  • Nanotechnology.

Potential Beneficiaries

Among defense contractors:

  • BAE Systems PLC (ADR) (OTC: BAESY).
  • Boeing Co (NYSE: BA).
  • General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE: GD).
  • Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE: HON).
  • L3 Technologies Inc (NYSE: LLL).
  • Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT).
  • Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC).
  • Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN).
  • United Technologies Corporation (NYSE: UTX).

Among IT service vendors:

  • Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation (NYSE: BAH).
  • Mantech International Corp (NASDAQ: MANT).
  • Science Applications International Corp (NYSE: SAIC).

Related Links:

5 Ways The U.S. Army Uses 3D Printing

DoD Spending Budget And Military Bands: That's Not How It Works, Congresswoman

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