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Distributed Lethality: The Future of the Helicopter Sea Combat Community

Distributed Lethality: The Future of the Helicopter Sea Combat Community
June 5, 2017 | Source: Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC), cimsec.org, 28 February 2017, Lieutenant Commander Michael S. Silver, USN

The future of the Helicopter Sea Combat Community (HSC) community is at risk. HSC, which is made up of both carrier air wing (CVW) and expeditionary (EXP) squadrons that employ MH60S helicopters, struggles with its purpose to the fleet. Platform capabilities fail to keep pace with technological advancements and HSC warfighting relevancy is diminishing. A focused vision, careful risk mitigation, rebalanced mission priorities, and thoughtful platform acquisitions are needed in order to strengthen the fleet and secure the future of the HSC community.

What Does an HSC Vision for 2026 Look Like?

What is needed is will—the fortitude to recognize that we have to change the way we currently operate. –VADM Thomas Rowden, “Distributed Lethality.”

The HSC community of 2026 has a renewed focus on maritime employment and a customer-focused concept of operations based on the needs of warfare commanders. This means pivoting to become the maritime mission experts, integrating into a Carrier Strike Group (CSG), Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), or Independent Deployer via the Distributed Lethality (DL) model: 

“Distributed lethality is the condition gained by increasing the offensive power of individual components of the surface force (cruisers, destroyers, littoral combat ships [LCSs], amphibious ships, and logistics ships) and then employing them in dispersed offensive formations.”