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NEWS | Sept. 3, 2015

Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Acquisition and Development visits NSWC Indian Head EOD Technology Division

By NSWC IHEODTD Public Affairs

INDIAN HEAD, Md. - Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (NSWC IHEODTD) welcomed Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (ASN RDA), Sean Stackley, Aug. 28, during a visit to demonstrate how the command leads efforts to increase range and lethality of energetic materials and provides life-saving tools, technologies and information.


"This was a unique and interesting day," said Stackley. "One of the best parts of my job is getting the opportunity to meet the folks who are actually doing the hard work on these critical systems - everything from leading-edge technologies to working with the warfighters going in theater."


The secretary was joined by Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Expeditionary Programs and Logistics Management Thomas Dee; and Executive Director of the Naval Surface and Undersea Warfare Center Don McCormack.


"We're honored the Secretary devoted an entire day to better understanding the organic, in-house capabilities and expertise this division provides the Navy and Department of Defense," said NSWC IHEODTD Technical Director Ashley Johnson.


"The men and women of this command never want our warfighters to go into a fair fight. Our purpose is to fly farther, hit harder and save lives," added NSWC IHEODTD Commanding Officer Capt. Vincent Martinez. "We're very passionate about that mission, and the workforce enjoyed demonstrating our capabilities to the Secretary."


The group visited work stations to learn about the division's advances to increase lethality, such as its support of Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo and other ordnance systems, development of reactive materials and research in the area of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). In the MEMS clean-room - one of the only clean rooms currently rated for use of energetic materials - the visitors learned how decreasing fuse size can increase capabilities or capacities in other areas of existing platforms.


Following a micro-scale detonation of materials, Stackley traveled to the division's Energetics Manufacturing Complex to witness the extrusion process of MK 90 grains used in the Hydra 70 (2.75-inch) rocket system; and then to the Systems Engineering Center to discuss the Navy-priority efforts such as the Digital Rocket Launcher and densified propellant development; and the cartridge- and propellant-actuated devices (CAD / PAD). The command also demonstrated the use of energetics beyond weapon systems at the Detonation Science Facility by quickly and precisely cutting through thick metal with linear shaped charges and a modified thermal lance. 


After a quick Mark VI boat ride down the Potomac River to the command's EOD site, senior- and master-level EOD technicians assigned to the Technical Support Detachment (TSD) Combined Explosive Exploitation Cell platoons guided the secretary through a unique EOD scenario. Stackley was suited in protective EOD gear, transported to the site's test range, and experienced "the Lonely Walk."  Accompanied by a TSD EOD technician, Stackley traveled on foot to a waterfront test range where two abandoned vehicles waited to be investigated. After returning to the bunker, he used an autonomous robotic EOD ground system to trigger the device and render it safe. 


The secretary ended the day by meeting with the division's EOD Department civilian engineers and learned how these individuals provide information, tools and technologies to technicians and first responders so they can safely return from their own "Lonely Walk."


"There's a lot to be said for the corporate co-location of folks in uniform who are going into theater, understanding what the problems are, and coming back to work directly with our engineers and testers," said Stackley. "We need this shared knowledge. Not only does it benefit the warfighter by delivering better products, it also benefits those senior-level officers who later on may want to become a program manager. It gives them that hands-on experience they need to have."


NSWC IHEODTD, a command within Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and a part of the Naval Research and Development Establishment, leads the Navy in energetics, energetic materials and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) knowledge, tools, equipment.  Headquartered in Indian Head, Md., NSWC Indian Head EOD Technology Division also includes detachments in Louisville, Ky., Picatinny, N.J., McAlester, Okla. and Ogden, Utah.