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The Enterprise: Navy officials talk about innovation challenges in naval aviation

Website: The Enterprise: Navy officials talk about innovation challenges in naval aviation (opens in a new window)
Published: 04 May 2018
Contributor: Dandan Zou
dzou@somdnews.com

Remarks made by speakers at the April 26 panel, "Cleared for Takeoff: Innovation in Naval Aviation," were covered in an article by Dandan Zou that appeared in the May 4, 2018, edition of The Enterprise (page A4). The panel was co-hosted by The Patuxent Partnership and the Association of Naval Aviation. 

Keynote speaker Rear Adm. Scott Conn, director of Air Warfare at the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations was quoted, along with panelist Ed Wolski, deputy director of Air Warfare for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics). 

View the full article on The Enterprise Website. 


Navy officials talked about innovation challenges facing naval aviation last week in a panel discussion at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum.

Rear Adm. Scott Conn, director of Air Warfare at the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, emphasized the importance of training.

Over the years, as naval aviation systems have become more integrated and its operations more interdependent, he said training for sailors also need to keep pace with those new, integrated capabilities built into aircraft or naval air systems.

“We can show those sailors scenarios in training before they see them in combat. That is critical,” Conn said. “That is how we are gonna fight. That is how we must train. And we owe them that environment to do that.”

Noting there’s a lot of talk about various domains — space, air, surface, subsurface and cyber — Conn said the human domain is the one that he considers the most important but often taken for granted.

Paraphrasing an old quote from a general, Conn said, “We are not gonna rise to the level of our technology; we are not gonna rise to the capabilities of our opponent; and we are not gonna necessarily rise to the expectations of our seniors. We are gonna fall back to our level of training. It needs to be realistic, it needs to be relevant, and folks need to be prepared.”

Conn also mentioned artificial intelligence as something that can help speed up the decision-making process by displaying the right information at the right level.

Edward Wolski, deputy director of Air Warfare at the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics), said at the panel that one of the innovation challenges involves strike fighter inventory management.

“We are not buying enough airplanes; we are simply not buying enough airplanes,” Wolski said. “On the procurement side, the less aircraft that we procure, the more we are carrying those fixed cost. … It’s a death spiral. … We are not saving money and the money is gone.”

Investing in research and development in sustaining those airplanes could be one piece of the answer.

Also, “we’ve got to begin to innovate for our best minds to work to drive these cost down across the board,” Wolski said.

The event was hosted by The Patuxent Partnership and the Association of Naval Aviation.

 

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