PORT HUENEME, Calif. – The U.S. Navy’s Seaborne Targets team from Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships and NAVAIR’s Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) demonstrated its essential capabilities to Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Admiral Michael Gilday, during his visit to Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, Feb. 26.
Seaborne targets are used during the required testing and training of missile systems, guns, and other weapons designed to destroy an approaching “threat” to ships and aircraft. Adm. Gilday viewed unique capabilities of the Government-developed remote control system used to control the target boats. The remote control system allows range operations personnel to control target boats in groups or formations, realistically simulating the threat of multiple boats simultaneously attacking a ship. Various types and configurations of seaborne targets were also on display.
“The CNO has tasked us with maintaining our advantage at sea and we know that threats to ships and aircraft are constantly emerging and evolving,” said Mike Kosar, program manager, Auxiliary Ships, Small Boats and Craft, PEO Ships. “The Navy must constantly adapt by developing new weapons systems to counter those threats and therefore, must develop new seaborne targets to test the systems and train operators to respond to the approaching threat.”
Seaborne targets are known for their orange color which allows them to be easily identified. The Navy’s inventory of seaborne targets are comprised primarily of self-propelled boats and barges or floating pontoons designed to be towed behind the boats.
To produce target boats, the PEO Ships Support Ships, Boats and Craft program office works to procure and deliver them and installs remote control systems on the boats following delivery. NAWCWD personnel perform final assembly of all tow targets in Port Hueneme. Seaborne Targets Depot personnel test the targets before shipping them to the sea ranges where they are ultimately used.
“The in-house capabilities of the Seaborne Targets team enables us to retain the technical knowledge and expertise required to provide support wherever our targets are used,” said Kosar. “Our surface force must have confidence in the reliability of the systems and weapons they are given. The vital work of the Seaborne Targets team helps ensure the readiness of our warfighters.”
As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft.