Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert anticipates that the Navy’s reach will grow in the decade ahead as new capabilities make their way into the fleet and through the deployment of unmanned systems.

In his position report released this week, Greenert outlined his vision for the Navy in the next 10 to 15 years that includes the use and continuous development of new technologies to counter evolving threats to assure maritime access.

“The reach and effectiveness of ships and aircraft will be greatly expanded through new and updated weapons, unmanned systems, sensors, and increased power,” the admiral said.

The Pentagon has identified the proliferation of weapons and technology in the hands of potential adversaries as a top threat allowing them to engage in Anti-Access Area Denial (A2AD), and has touted the employment of unmanned systems as a key way to address the A2AD threat.

Greenert said the Air-Sea Battle concept will be implemented. Air Sea Battle calls for the battlefield coordination all platforms, sensors, and cyber and jamming capabilities in responding to or taking out a threat, and has been developed as Navy and Air Force doctrine over the last few years.

“Unmanned systems in the air and water will employ greater autonomy and be fully integrated with their manned counterparts,” Greenert said.

Air-Sea Battle is widely believed to be geared toward China, but Pentagon officials have insisted it is not designed for any specific country.

The Navy currently has several major unmanned programs under way, including the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program. The Navy has already deployed BAMS demonstrator unmanned aerial vehicles more commonly known as Global Hawk, the Air Force version.

The Navy’s program of record calls for 68 BAMS aircraft. Northrop Grumman [NOC] is the prime contractor for BAMS.

The Navy is also developing a carrier-based unmanned aircraft capability that includes the Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) program.  The service intends to use the lessons learned in that program for a follow-on Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) program.