Research Summaries

Back VLS Missile Mix, Firing Policy, and Deterrence Against Red Salvos

Fiscal Year 2021
Division Research & Sponsored Programs
Department NPS Naval Research Program
Investigator(s) Atkinson, Michael P.
Salmeron-Medrano, Javier
Kress, Moshe
Sponsor Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Navy)
Summary Overview: Vertical launch system (VLS) is the current method to fire missiles from surface naval vessels and nuclear submarines. With the transition to distributed maritime operations (DMO), the USN would like to increase the offensive capability of VLS. The appropriate mix of missiles in VLS is tied to the firing policy to counter an incoming threat. A common firing policy is shoot-shoot-look-shoot-shoot (SSLSS). The "look" is battle damage assessment (BDA) to determine the outcome of the first two shots. With enhanced technology, SSLSS might be overly conservative in using scarce resources for defensive measures. In this project we will focus on determining the optimal mix of missiles in a VLS and the corresponding firing policy. Research Questions: What VLS loadouts strike a proper balance between offensive and defensive postures? What defensive firing policy (e.g., Shoot-Shoot-Look-Shoot-Shoot, Shoot-Look-Shoot) is more effective in a given scenario? How important is BDA time in the solution? (i.e., under what BDA time-windows would a given solution remain optimal?) How can soft-kill weapons (chaff, flare, electronic counter-measures) enhance Blue's effectiveness? Research Plan: We will initially focus on simple models. For example: Red fires n homogenous missiles in its salvo and Blue has m homogenous defensive missiles to counter. We will consider variants with and without BDA. Later we will develop optimization models to examine the optimal VLS missile mix and corresponding firing policy. These will be based on the weapon target assignment problem, but incorporate constraints specific for the VLS context. Initially we will focus on what missiles should go on the VLS and how should Blue employ them. Deliverables: Final report, IPRs, poster, exec summary, algorithms
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Data Publications, theses (not shown) and data repositories will be added to the portal record when information is available in FAIRS and brought back to the portal