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NEWS | Oct. 30, 2023

NSWC Crane brings technical expertise to follow-on joint warfighting experimentation event for rapid modernization

By Sarah K. Oh, NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) provided technical expertise in a follow-on, joint warfighting experimentation event for rapid modernization in October. The two-week event, Technology Readiness Experimentation 2023 (T-REX  23-2), took place at Muscatatuck Training Center in Butlerville, Indiana.  

Led by the Office of the Undersecretary for Defense Research & Engineering Prototypes and Experimentation team and the Indiana National Guard, T-REX 23-2 is part of the DOD Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve (RDER) initiative to encourage prototyping and experimentation for solutions to joint challenges. Twelve innovative organizations brought thirteen technologies to assess capability in the rigorous T-REX 23-2 environment, which included both environmental factors and unique scenarios.  

Clint Seyer, the Director of the Rapid Integration and Experimentation Center at NSWC Crane, says this follow-on event was more complex than the inaugural T-REX 23-1 event in May. 

“T-REX 23-1 was a success,” said Seyer, “which led to T-REX 23-2 being a success. We had some of the same technologies involved, but we also had several new technologies added to the scenario. The complexity and integration of capabilities is increasing as we advance—and the capability is more relevant to the warfighter. The Muscatatuck Training Center adds a real-world environment where buildings and structures come into the scenarios, the large reservoir was utilized for some maritime technologies.” 

Earlier this year T-REX 23-1 took place at Camp Atterbury, which is another Indiana National Guard military base about an hour drive from Muscatatuck Training Center. Seyer said they were able to make use of both ranges for T-REX 23-2. 

“Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Training Center are about 40 miles apart, and we were able to utilize that expanded range to conduct experiments for the event,” said Seyer.  

The DOD released its National Defense Science and Technology Strategy earlier this year, emphasizing the Joint Mission, creating capabilities at speed and scale, and ensuring foundations for research and development. Seyer said it is crucial to have events like T-REX to cut down assessment and development time for technologies.  

“It is really important to get businesses both small and large into this environment to experiment and integrate their systems,” said Seyer. “It allows them to rapidly test in a fail-fast model. The vendors attending may have only tested their technologies in a lab. This rapidly enhances their capability, going from a lab—to the field in a realistic environment.” 

Along with the many small businesses participating, several NSWC Crane technologies were demonstrated and assessed during T-REX 23-2, including BOXCAR, AIMM, Low Profile Vessel (LPV), and LOKI. BOXCAR stands for Battlespace Operations, experimentation Collection and Analysis for Research. It provides spectrum awareness and safety for test events and provides electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) monitoring analysis. Artificial Intelligence for Maritime Maneuver (AIMM) is a partnership with Trine University advancing both technology areas. NSWC Crane is working to build fully autonomous LPVs with options for payload add-in capabilities. LOKI is an electromagnetic spectrum technology and concept that aims to ‘leapfrog’ adversaries in the EMS domain. 

Military members from different commands and branches participated in T-REX 23-2 as technology assessors.  

“Service member’s come to see the technologies and bring their experience,” said Seyer. “They are interested in utilizing the capabilities to rapidly improve them for their needs. Together in the experimentation environment, military personnel and technologists work together to make it work. They are asking, ‘How can we get fielded rapidly and get it in the hands of the warfighter?’”  

Seyer said NSWC Crane leverages the talent pool from the National Guard for events like T-REX 23-2 using the Personnel Force Innovation program, which is a mechanism NSWC Crane uses to hire service members. 

“NSWC Crane hires Indiana National Guard members through the PFI program,” said Seyer. “Through events like this, we’re bringing them into the tech side of development with our civilian scientists and engineers.  T-REX 23-2 was an overwhelming success bringing new technologies and capabilities to the range, integrating them together to show real warfighting capability!” 

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 Electromagnetic 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. 

Join Our Team! NAVSEA employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce - from students and entry level employees to experienced professionals and individuals with disabilities. We support today's sophisticated Navy and Marine Corps ships, aircraft, weapon systems and computer systems. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, IT and cyber specialists, as well as trade and other support professionals to ensure the U.S. Navy can protect and defend America. Please contact NSWC Crane Human Resources at crane_recruiting@navy.mil.