“In a distributed construct, the drones spread out across an area while the manned ship passively receives the data at a distance. But it’s a challenge to accomplish that in environments where an adversary such as China or Russia actively jams communications signals.

“However, it’s a challenge the Navy must address, said Bob Work, the former deputy secretary of defense who championed unmanned technologies under the Obama administration.

“’This is like carrier aviation in the interwar period,’ Work said. ‘This is an integration problem with systems that ultimately are going to change the way the Navy fights and considers combat power. The first thing is to get things into the fleet to test them and say: “How do these things work together?”’

“Work said the Navy’s concept of operations currently under development doesn’t need to be the final word, but he added it’s imperative the Navy begin experimenting…”

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