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NEWS | Aug. 17, 2023

NSWC Crane NavalX Midwest Tech Bridge supports 2nd annual Hypersonic Innovation Conference  

By Sarah K. Miller, NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

DAYTON, Ohio. – Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) NavalX Midwest Tech Bridge supported the second annual Hypersonic Innovation Conference. More than 700 attendees participated in the conference from May 2-4 at the Dayton Convention Center and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.  

The Hypersonic Innovation Conference is a yearly educational forum that brings together leaders and experts from across the Department of Defense (DOD), including senior DOD officials, military leaders, academia, and industry. Throughout the more than 25 speaker sessions and eight hours of networking, this forum brought people together to discuss the needs to advance American hypersonic technologies and leverage these technologies to achieve U.S. national security goals.  

NSWC Crane Deputy Technical Director, Dr. Kyle Werner, moderated a panel on the University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics (UCAH).   

“This conference included a wide range of subject matter experts across a breadth of technical fields,” said Dr. Werner. “We had an incredible lineup of speakers, presentations, and discussions to accelerate the development of this crucial technology. UCAH panelists shared perspectives on how to accelerate development of hypersonics technology, activate workforce development initiatives, and ultimately transition technology to our DOD Warfighters.”  

Some of the topics for the conference included using disruptive technologies such as hypersonics to enable the warfighter and maintain strategic military advantage and rapidly developing and deploying hypersonic weapons capabilities across all Services through optimized investments.   

Hypersonic weapons, which have the capability to travel five times the speed of sound, also have the potential to change the balance of power in the Pacific and Europe. Dr. Sarah Armstrong, the Director of the Joint Hypersonics Transition Office (JHTO) Systems Engineering Field Activity, said that by leveraging the full capabilities of the Joint Force, hypersonics technology allows for the defense priorities like defending, deterring strategic attacks against, and deterring aggression toward the U.S.   

“Only through a coordinated effort across the DoD –including our allies—will we be able to ensure the development of key technologies such as hypersonics. Diverse perspectives and revolutionary thinking are key to accelerating innovation; leveraging the strengths of unconventional partners propels us to achieving breakthroughs in hypersonics,” says Dr. Armstrong. “The Hypersonics Innovation Conference is a valuable platform for government, industry, and academia to collaborate, exchange ideas, and truly push the boundaries of hypersonic technology.”   

This forum featured senior level discussions that emphasize the critical need for the rapid acquisition and development of hypersonic capabilities across all services. This program allowed for open and honest dialogue in order to solve the nation’s most difficult technical and strategic challenges.  

The NavalX Midwest Tech Bridge is part of a network that enhances collaboration between Naval labs, industry, academia, and other military branches. The Midwest Tech Bridge works with these partners to foster collaboration between these entities in areas such as trusted microelectronics, hypersonics, and electro-optics.   

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the turnout for the second annual hypersonic innovation conference,” says Anne Fields, the NavalX Midwest Tech Bridge Director. “It was fascinating to see leaders from the military and innovation leaders collaborating to solve some of our nation’s toughest challenges. It’s clear that events such as the hypersonic innovation conference strengthen our innovation ecosystem, strengthen cross-organizational collaboration, and ultimately strengthen our national defense.”    

The U.S. Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) is developing the Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) hypersonic missile and throughout HIC emphasized the value that comes from collaboration on hypersonics as a national priority.   

“The innovation and cooperation occurring across industry, government, and the Services to drive critical hypersonic related technology forward are laying a strong foundation for success that will positively affect the future of our country,” says CPS Major Program Manager CAPT Gregory Zettler. “The collaborative application of expertise, intellectual property, and resources that flows out of events like this conference are key to accelerating the delivery of an affordable capability into the hands of the warfighter.”  

Roger Callahan, the Navy CPS Advanced Concepts Lead at NSWC Crane, says HIC was a great way to engage with small businesses about hypersonic technology.  

“The conference was an excellent forum to inform capable and innovative small businesses of the DOD’s challenges in fielding hypersonic capabilities,” says Callahan. “Via stage presentations and networking opportunities, these small businesses were informed of how to bring their solutions and talent to the warfighter through government contracts or industry partnerships. To validate the interest and ability to rapidly leverage whole industry solutions, Navy CPS hosted live solution proposals at the conference for previously solicited technology needs. This culminated in ‘intent to contract award’ declarations for three separate small business and large business partnership teams! There is no doubt that the conference improved the national network to bring advanced, affordable, and rapidly producible hypersonic capabilities to the warfighter.”   

The list of speakers included:  

  • GEN James H. Dickinson, U.S. Army, Commander, U.S. Space Command  
  • VADM Johnny Wolfe, Jr., U.S. Navy, Director, Strategic Systems Programs  
  • Dr. James Weber, ST, Associate Director of Hypersonics, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering  
  • Dr. Shari Feth, SES, Director of Innovation, Science, and Technology, Missile Defense Agency  
  • Dr. Angela Lewis, SES, Technical Director, NSWC Crane  
  • Jeannie Sommer, Deputy Director (Acting), Army Hypersonic Project Office Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, U.S. Army  
  • CAPT Greg Zettler, U.S. Navy, Conventional Prompt Strike, Major Program Manager, Strategic Systems Programs  
  • Col Jacob Porter, U.S. Air Force, Chief, High Speed Systems Division, Air Force Research Laboratory  
  • Mark Glenn, Acting Director, Joint Hypersonics Transition Office  
  • Dr. Brian Kantsiper, Chief Engineer, Space Development Agency  
  • CAPT John Zerr, U.S. Navy, Navy Service Lead, Defense Innovation Unit  
  • Martin Lindsey, PhD, Science and Technology Chief, USINDOPACOM  

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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