While initially conceived of as a defensive technology able to destroy incoming anti-ship missiles, Navy strategists are now stepping-up consideration of NIFC-CA as an offensive weapon able to extend the reach of attacks upon enemies. The sensors and increased reach of NIFC-CA seem to represent a technology which could coordinate with fixed or mobile land-based fires in a cross-domain effort. Its ability to detect attacking land-fired weapons, it seems, could also enable it to launch attacks against land-based enemy targets. This creates the inverse equation to firing from the land into surface targets and better enabling surface ships to attack land with greater precision from farther ranges.
NIFC-CA is an extremely signifcant current example of cross-domain fires, as it involves the use of an air-asset, martime surface vessel and, quite possibly, land-targets as well.
The Navy previously talked about developing longer-range precision rounds to fire from the 5-inch guns on surface ships, further enhancing its ability to destroy enemy targets on land; one such possibility under consideration is a maritime variant of the GPS-guided 155m round known as Excalibur, however in recent days the Navy has not specified which, if any, precision round the service may be considering for deck-mounted guns.
While seemingly geared at the vast geographical expanse and land-sea island terrain of the Pacific, “cross-domain” fires are also of great relevance in other strategically vital areas such as the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa, Smith said.
The Pentagon plans to increasingly conduct wargames emphasizing "cross-domain" fires against high-end adversaries.
This first appeared in Scout Warrior here.