On 7 February, Adm. Bill Moran, US Vice Chief of Naval Operations, announced that the Unmanned Warfare Systems Directorate (OPNAV 99), just a year old, will be eliminated. Unmanned systems will instead be moved to technology development or domain-based warfare directorates.
Rather than being inspired by overhead reduction efforts or budget constraints, the move is directed towards better integration of manned and unmanned systems and to achieve the complementary operational effects such integration will give rise to. The OPNAV 99 function will be mainly absorbed by the Directorate of Warfare Integration (OPNAV N91), which will deal with integration, accelerated acquisition and oversight issues and work with Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Unmanned Systems, Frank Kelley, to accelerate prototype acquisition wherever possible.
No programmes of record will be lost as a result of the reorganisation. Some of the more important include:
- Rapid Prototyping Experimentation and Development (Unmanned Systems)
- Sensor-Hosting Autonomous Remote Craft
- Low-Cost (Unmanned Air Systems (UAS)) Swarming Technology (LOCUST)
- Heterogeneous Collaborative Unmanned Systems
- Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV)
- Advanced Undersea Prototyping
- Common Control System (CCS)
- Common System Interface (which allows CCS to talk to established system interfaces)
- Carrier-based Unmanned Aerial Vehicle