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NEWS | Aug. 1, 2023

NSWC Crane supports DOD-wide, joint warfighting experimentation to further rapid modernization

By Sarah K. Miller, NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

CRANE, Ind. – Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) supported a Department of Defense (DOD) joint warfighting experimentation event at Camp Atterbury, Indiana on May 16-24. More than 30 government and industry organizations participated in TREX23-1, accelerating joint innovation and providing real-world data for future warfighting concept development.  

The DOD and Indiana National Guard hosted the Technology Readiness Experimentation 2023 (TREX23-1) showcase which featured both static displays and tactical scenario demonstrations. TREX23-1 supports the Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve (RDER) initiative. RDER, pronounced “Raider”, is a DOD-wide initiative that facilitates more rapid modernization by focusing prototyping and experimentation efforts on multi-component missions.  

“OSD’s successful testing exercise highlights not only Indiana’s highly talented workforce and excellent facilities, but also our enduring relationship with NSWC Crane. This partnership nests the Indiana National Guard’s modernized ranges and facilities with NSWC’s technical prowess,” said Maj. Gen. Dale Lyles, Indiana National Guard adjutant general. “This provides the defense enterprise inimitable capabilities to effectively test leading edge solutions.” 

Dr. Kyle Werner, the Deputy Technical Director at NSWC Crane, said Camp Atterbury provided a great testing environment for TREX23-1 participants. 

“Our partners at the Indiana National Guard and Camp Atterbury provided a robust testing environment for participants,” says Dr. Werner. “TREX23-1 was an incredible display of innovation and technical prowess. The combined Indiana ecosystem is full of talent to support the DOD’s high priority rapid modernization effort and RDER.” 

NSWC Crane contributed technical expertise as well as technology for the demonstrations. Clint Seyer, the director of the Rapid Integration and Experimentation Center at NSWC Crane, was part of the team organizing NSWC Crane’s participation in TREX23-1. Seyer said it was great to participate in the DOD-wide event.  

“It is exciting to see TREX come to Indiana—between the military, National Guard, the facilities at Camp Atterbury, and technical expertise at NSWC Crane, TREX was a really suitable environment for companies to rapidly conduct experiments,” said Seyer. “It was a great way to assess technology and capabilities and get it ready for DOD use—our goal is to shorten the time to get technology in the hands of warfighters.” 

TREX23-1 is a full-scale exercise featuring tactical scenario demonstrations and a Prototype Technology Display to discover, demonstrate, and assess warfighting capabilities. Six technologies were assessed during TREX23-1 for operability. TREX23-1 created a “disaster scenario” demonstration where communications needed to be established. Signal devices, cyber protection, counterintelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance technologies were assessed. Ensuring safe and secure communications helps assure mission effectiveness and protects warfighters.  

Seyer said since a typical acquisition process could take several years, events like TREX23-1 provide an avenue to increase acquisition speed.  

“NSWC Crane supports the rapid acquisition of technology,” said Seyer. “TREX23-1 provides an opportunity to rapidly improve new technologies and capabilities. It provides a place to experiment, demonstrate, and gives insight beyond a products spec sheet—it’s taking what technologies can do in the lab, into a more realistic field environment. TREX23 participants were able get their technologies into that environment and increase their readiness level.”  

NSWC Crane brought several technologies to TREX23-1, including Loki, a Low Profile Vessel (LPV), and 5G networking capability. Loki is an electromagnetic spectrum technology with the purpose of delaying, distracting, and making sure the adversary is in the wrong place at the wrong time. The LPV came out of a Warfighter Driven Challenge (WDC), which is an NSWC Crane-led rapid prototyping event, in 2022 and provides quick and cost-effective platforms. NSWC Crane is currently working with Trine University and the United States Naval Academy to build fully autonomous LPVs with options for payload add-in capabilities.  

“Our potential adversaries are going fast—this gets tech to the services faster,” says Seyer. “This event is the first of many; we look forward to continuing experimentation of technology.” 

About NSWC Crane NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter. 

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