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Naval Fires Network: the transformation of naval warfare. (Around the Fleet).

When USS Abraham Lincoln's (CVN 72) Battle Group deploys this summer, it will bring along a warfare system that's been called the most transformational effort in the Navy - the Naval Fires Network (NFN).

NFN is a network-centric warfare system that provides real-time intelligence correlation; sensor control; target generation; mission planning; and battle damage assessment capabilities, while also enabling real-time engagement of time-critical targets. This capability will allow ships in a battle group to share real-time targeting and intelligence data with each other,as well as with other warfighting assets in a joint or coalition task force.

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and the Program Executive Office for Theater Surface Combatants in Washington, D.C., are responsible for NFN development and deployment to the fleet.

According to Lincoln's battle group commander, NFN will help deploying forces get the most out of current investments in command and control capabilities.

"We know to begin with how to package information products for strike missions," said RADM John Kelly, in a May 9 story in Defense Daily. "NFN allows us to do that packaging more quickly and to produce higher quality products, enabling us to be more effective in putting ordnance on target than ever before."

Operations Desert Storm and Allied Force underscored a need for time-critical targeting against rapidly relocatable targets. Since the 1990s, this threat - including the potential delivery of weapons of mass destruction - has increased. To address this deficiency; the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet identified the need for a network-centric capability to support joint, allied and coalition forces in the engagement of time critical targets.

An NFN prototype was tested aboard the 3rd Fleet flagship USS Coronado (AGF 11) in 2001, followed by a successful operational demonstration during Fleet Battle Experiment India, involving all four military services.

Based on these demonstrations, NFN was deployed aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) with congressional funding in the FY01 Supplemental Appropriations Act. Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, additional funding was provided in the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act to enable follow-on fielding on NFN capability. In response to Emergency Supplemental tasking, NFN has also

been installed, and is now operational, at U.S. 5th Fleet Headquarters, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Future plans call for NFN installations aboard the 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3), USS Essex (LHD 2), USS Constellation (CV 64), USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and USS Tarawa (LHA 1), with further installs planned for surface combatants, submarines and surveillance aircraft.

"NFN is the most transformational effort taking place in the Navy today," said VADM Pete Nanos, NAVSEA commander. "It will bring unprecedented war-fighting capabilities to our naval forces."

More information about the Naval Sea Systems Command can be found at www.navsea.

Story by JOC David Nagle, Naval Sea Systems Command Public Affairs
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Publication:All Hands
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2002
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