RADM Pyle, N96, discussed the following topics:
- 00:52 – The role of N96
- 01:10 – Key drivers for the DDG(X) next generation destroyer program
- 02:10 – LUSV and MUSV
- 03:19 – DDG 51 Flight III destroyer program
- 04:13 – FFG-62 Constellation-class frigate program
- 05:03 – Future of the LCS program
Xavier Vavasseur, Naval News: Can you please first tell us the role of a N96?
Admiral Pyle: Absolutely. So as the director of surface warfare on the chief of naval operations staff, we serve in the Pentagon, I have a team of about 116 active duty, government civilians, and in what we do is we define the requirements for what our surface fleet needs to do. And then we work to secure the investments and deliver that capability to the fleet. So we can do what the surface Navy needs to do at sea.
Xavier Vavasseur, Naval News: A major upcoming program for the US Navy is DDG(X) of course. What are some of the key drivers for the program and how is it important in your opinion that the program moves forward at pace?
Admiral Pyle: So there’s really there’s really two key components of the DDG(X) that I would consider drivers. First is Arleigh Burke class destroyer. Very successful platform, for nearly 40 years. We have a SWPC issue: Space weight, power cooling. The margin for that capability is no longer there. We need DDG(X) to have a margin for that space, weight, power and cooling. The warfighting imperative for DDG(X) gives us the opportunity to get to a larger missile launcher, increase our capacity of weapons, deliver Long Range Strike hypersonic weapons, and increase directed energy weapons that we have on board as well as gross sensors such as SPY-6 to pace the threat going into the next decade and beyond.
Xavier Vavasseur, Naval News: The US Navy is currently doing a lot with unmanned systems, in your opinion what is the right mix between crewed and uncrewed assets for the future fleet. And does that include MUSV and LUSV?
Admiral Pyle: So the the unmanned work, the unmanned surface vessel work that we’re doing is extremely exciting. One of the most exciting areas that we’re working on in surface warfare right now. For studies have to get to 355 ships, the CNO has been very clear. About 150 unmanned ships to complement those 355 ships. We’re still working through what that mix is. But we are moving out on the large unmanned surface vessel, that will carry an adjunct magazine, which will be a great addition to the surface fleet as we work distributed maritime operations. For medium unmanned surface vessels, there’s just tremendous amount of capability to employ C5ISRT. So think intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, collections capability, that again, we can distribute that capability beyond our existing platforms to execute DMO.
Xavier Vavasseur, Naval News: Admiral, what’s the latest with the DDG 51 Flight III program?
Admiral Pyle: Thanks for asking. So Jack H Lucas DDG 125 last month got underway for the first time on what we call alpha trials. Great underway very proud of what that ship has accomplished. And the larger team, Team of teams that made that possible. Briefly, the ship was able to operate at sea, the propulsion plant, SPY was operated continuously, the Aegis Weapon System baseline 10 operated, and we learned a ton from that first underway. We’re now taking that data collecting it determining what adjustments we need to make and the ship will go back to sea in about a month and continue that testing. Critical capability, area missile defense command ship. But we are keeping Jack on track and are very excited about the platform.
Xavier Vavasseur, Naval News: What about the frigates what’s the progress on the FFG 62 program?
Admiral Pyle: So the FFG-62 Constellation-class, I had the privilege to go up to Marinette, Wisconsin. I went November, I don’t recommend going that time of year. But I was able to see firsthand the construction of the FFG-62. We began construction in August of this year ,we have set top level requirements for that ship and that ship will deliver in FY 26. We are very excited about having another small surface combatant, adding it to the inventory. AEGIS-like capability with SPY, AEGIS baseline 10 and 32 VSL launchers, 16 Naval Strike missiles, tremendous amount of capability that we look forward to getting into the fleet.
Xavier Vavasseur, Naval News: Last but not least Admiral, LCS. Which future roles do you envision for the littoral combat ship?
Admiral Pyle: Yeah, so the littoral combat ship, the missions are twofold. First, for the Freedom-class, we have the Surface Warfare package, which will be the key task for the Freedom-class. Mono-hull ship. And on the Independence-class we will have 15 ships with a mine countermeasure mission package. So that is the program of record going forward. Both those programs doing well. The ship is deployed throughout our fleets. We recently had a success story with Sioux City, Freedom-class deploying to Fifth Fleet and Sixth Fleet and the Independence-class are operating Seven to Third Fleet and performing very well. So we’re excited about the future of those two mission sets.