Preserving key electronic attack capabilities will be critical to projecting airpower in future conflicts, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert told reporters in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Greenert said these “critical” electronic warfare capabilities will be just as important as stand-alone stealth in the future. “The ability to detect sooner, to spoof, jam, intercept other sensors and weapons, I think, is key to the future,” Greenert said. Although the Navy is getting delivery of the F-35C, the strike fighter is just “one element of stealth,” and works alongside assets like the E/A-18G Growler electronic attack jet. He also emphasized the importance of unmanned aircraft in future fights, indicating their importance to naval air operations will only grow in the near future. “There’s so much payload on an aircraft associated with a person that you can only imagine the sensors, and potential weapons, we could carry on that,” he said. While all the services are focus on anti-access, area-denial problems, Greenert stressed that he does not see the solution as “knocking down and defeating every single item” in a conflict. He said that would be “exhausting, too expensive, and prejudicial to the most efficient way to operate.” Instead, the focus should be on capability needed to get in to a fight, achieve a set objective, and get out, he added.
The Collaborative Combat Aircraft will be operational in the late 2020s, several years before the Next-Generation Air Dominance family of systems, Air Force officials told the House Armed Services tactical aviation panel. The CCAs will first be “shooters,” then electronic warfare platforms, then sensors, in that order, they added.