CAPITOL HILL: If the Commandant of the Marine Corps had one more dollar to spend — and he probably will with the recent budget deal — he’d use it to upgrade Navy ships’ electronics to take full advantage of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, he said this morning. The Marines’ new F-35Bs have the sensors to gather vast amounts of data and the computer smarts to “fuse” and make sense of it, experts tell us, but the Navy amphibious warships it will fly from lack the networks and computing to download and use all that intelligence.
“Right now we’re not even close to having that discussion with some of our amphibs, particularly the big deck amphibs,” Neller said. (That’s the LHA and LHD classes, often referred to as mini aircraft carriers). “We’re putting a fifth gen airplane on that amphib and we’re running a less than fifth gen command and control suite. And so to me that would be the first thing.”
It’s worth noting that Gen. Robert Neller was speaking off the cuff after I asked him about his priorities at an event hosted by the Amphibious Warship Industrial Base Coalition. As it was, Neller thought aloud for a moment about various Marine Corps needs, from long-range firepower to more Navy attack submarines to clear the seas, before saying his top priority would be command, control, and networking upgrades to fully exploit the capabilities of the F-35. Nevertheless, this morning’s remarks give a pretty good preview of what the Marines will be telling Congress.
Read the full article in Breaking Defense.