JUST IN: Navy Chief Warns Continuing Resolution Could Harm Hypersonics Program

By Meredith Roaten

Defense Dept. photo

The Navy's hypersonic program could feel the impact of the federal government's current continuing resolution if action is not taken soon, said the chief of naval operations Jan. 11. 

Speaking the day before he was set to testify in front of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Adm. Michael Gilday warned that a drawn out continuing resolution would slow down the progress the Navy has made on its hypersonic missile program, which is known as Conventional Prompt Strike.

The continuing resolution the federal government is currently operating under prevents new programs from starting across the Pentagon. While the Navy is making progress as it works with the Army on the new hypersonic technology, Gilday said he is concerned about potential delays if appropriations are not passed.

"It'll significantly slow us down,” he said during a speech at the Surface Navy Association’s annual conference.

In December, Congress enacted a continuing resolution to fund the government at current levels through Feb. 18.

On its current trajectory, the Navy's hypersonic technology will be fielded on a Zumwalt-class destroyer by 2025 and a Virginia-class submarine by 2028, he said. The goal post for the Virginia-class sub capability was pushed back from 2025 to 2028 in part due to issues securing funding for testing facilities, Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe, the head of Strategic Systems Programs, said in November.

Gilday said he also worries about the impact of funding uncertainty on the sea service and industry.

“It'll break faith with the industrial base, and it'll break faith with some of our sailors as well, who are preparing themselves to operate those systems,” he said.

He pointed to the impact on companies that have already started building the systems necessary for Conventional Prompt Strike.

“They're working seven days a week — some of them 24 hours a day — to grind out these new technologies, and we're potentially going to leave [them] in the lurch in 2022,” he said.

While he had concerns about funding, Gilday said he felt optimistic about the technology itself.

“Conventional prompt strike … has actually met or exceeded every benchmark and milestone over the past couple of years," he said. "It's a very healthy program."

Gilday noted he saw industry making “substantial investment on their own” to benefit the program during a recent trip to Lockheed Martin’s and Dynetics’ facilities in Huntsville, Alabama.

The companies’ investment will “put us in a position where we're going to be very successful,” he said.

Additionally, Gilday praised industry for supporting other critical technologies. For example, he said the defense industrial base is currently working closely with the Navy on designing elements of the service’s next-generation class of guided-missile destroyers as part of the DDG(X) program.

“We have major shipbuilders working with us right now on the elements of DDG(X) design,” he said. “As everybody in the audience is aware, we're tapped out in terms of what we can put on a DDG.”

Topics: Navy News

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