Some Arty soldiers are about to get their sea legs.

Soldiers will fire Army artillery and rockets from the decks of Navy ships this summer in the largest maritime exercise in the world.

For the first time last year, Marines successfully fired High Mobility Rocket Systems from the deck of the amphibious assault ship Essex. That success was a first salvo in work to integrate fires between the two forces and find ways to use their equipment in the near-shore fight.

At that time, the Marines also asked industry to submit proposals for a mobile coastal missile defense system so that once they get ashore then can fire back to the sea.

But the Army’s partnering with the Navy, especially with artillery pieces, is a new effort altogether, though not without warning.

The cross-domain fires portion, or bringing various fires from long-range missiles down to close-range mortars from all the assets, regardless of service branch, has been a part of the Army’s multidomain battle concept for at least the past year.

But news specific to the artillery portion and soldiers on ship decks was recently reported from an interview by Warrior Maven with Maj. Gen. John Ferrari, director, Program Analysis and Evaluation, G-8.

“The Army is looking at shooting artillery off of Navy ships. Innovation is taking existing things and modifying them to do something new,” Ferrari said.

And that’s going to happen at the bi-annual Rim of the Pacific exercise, scheduled for late June.

The multidomain concept seeks all services to work jointly in ultra fast-paced battles of future conflict. To strike enemies quickly and respond before their own systems are targeted they must bring all the guns to the fight.

Artillery and short-range rockets supplement the longer-range fires of naval missiles currently aboard ships, covering potential gaps closer to the coast.

The cross-domain fire teams are in experiment mode now, bringing units from elements of ground combat, cyber, air defense and artillery to maneuver together rather than large formations of a single firepower such as three artillery battalions, Ferrari said.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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