Focus Area Forum: Expeditionary and Irregular Warfare
Amphibious High-Water Speed Challenge

Image - Focus Area Forum

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) hosted its fourth Focus Area Forum on August 27. Stakeholders from across the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy and Naval Research Enterprise explored the art of the possible in amphibious high-water speed, or AHWS, science and technology,  a critical priority for the U.S. Marine Corps.

What is AHWS: Amphibious high-water speed requires technologies that enable fast, amphibious combat vehicles and systems to deliver Marines ashore quickly. Speed provides the protection and flexibility necessary to ensure that naval forces dictate tempo and enable operational maneuver from the sea. AHWS will enable real-time options to gain a positional advantage over the response of the adversary.

Why this is important: A core Marine Corps mission is to conduct forcible entry from the sea. Today's anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) threats present a significant challenge to naval forces and traditional amphibious operations, and requires power projection from the sea at greater distances. This environment necessitates longer range capability and higher water speeds for Marines operating in the maritime environment.

Objectives: This focus area forum was designed to address the technology challenges of high-speed, amphibious combat vehicle designs by providing:

  • Understanding of warfighter needs and science and technology (S&T) challenges for AHWS
  • Discussion of ongoing S&T related to the amphibious high water speed challenge
  • Exchange of new, innovative ideas and research to address AHWS capability and technology gaps

The challenge: The modern A2/AD environment challenges the naval community to rethink approaches to quickly assembling expeditionary forces ashore. Key technical areas will need to be researched to provide an affordable solution that meets challenging program objectives. S&T research of interest includes advanced hull forms/propulsor hydrodynamics, vehicle and personnel survivability/materials/structures, powertrain/power generation/fuel efficiency, human factors/habitability, and potential autonomous approaches to traversing the littorals quickly. 

Agenda / Presentations:

Time Topic Presenters
8–9 a.m. Registration Meet-and-greet with ONR leadership
9–9:15 a.m. Welcome

Rear Adm. Mat Winter, Chief of Naval Research, Office of Naval Research (ONR)

9:15–9:45 a.m. The Operational Need for High Water Speed Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command / Deputy Commandant, Combat Development & Integration (CD&I)
9:45–10:15 a.m. How We Operate and Fight in the Littorals

Doug King, Futures Directorate, CD&I

10:15–10:30 a.m. Break


10:30–11 a.m. EFV Lessons Learned, Studies and Investments

John Garner, Joe Was and Dave Ungar, Management Office for Advanced Amphibious Assault (PM AAA)

11–11:30 a.m. High Water Speed Science and Technology Strategy

Jeff Bradel, ONR Code 30

11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Lunch, Poster Session

ONR program officers and forum participants

1–2:30 p.m. Panel: High Water Speed Science and Technology Opportunities
2:30–2:45 p.m. Break


2:45–4 p.m. Panel: High Water Speed Science and Technology Opportunities

Panel continues

4–4:15 p.m. Path Forward and Wrap-up

Jeff Bradel, ONR Code 30

4:15–4:30 p.m. General Discussion

All participants

4:30 p.m. End


For More Information About the Forum:

Recap: Event Summary

See: video highlights on YouTube | photos on Flickr


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