WEST BETHESDA, Md. —
Capt. Pete Small, head of Naval Sea Systems Command’s Unmanned Maritime Systems (PMS 406) visited Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division on Aug. 16 to get an overview of Carderock’s unmanned portfolio and capabilities.
“Carderock’s technical expertise and world-class facilities are essential in developing coordinated and comprehensive Navy plans to develop, test, field and sustain unmanned surface and undersea maritime systems at scale,” Small said. “It was a great visit.”
During the visit, Small, along with Capt. Tim Moore, deputy for Unmanned Surface Warfare Fleet Introduction and Sustainment, and Dr. Chris Dowd, NAVSEA ship design manager, were welcomed by Larry Tarasek, technical director, and Capt. Cedric McNeal, commanding officer. They received technical briefs on Carderock Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV) Autonomy Lab and Integration Center out of Carderock’s Combatant Craft Division, as well as the testing facilities Carderock has in South Florida Ocean Measurement Facility and the Acoustic Research Detachment in Bayview, Idaho. Dr. Jason Strickland gave the visitors an overview of where they are on the medium and large USV indicative design.
“Meeting with the PMS 406 leadership was vital to validate that Carderock Division is providing the right level of support across the PMS 406 Unmanned Maritime Systems portfolio,” Tarasek said, adding that Carderock conducts these type of exchanges with its sponsors and stakeholders on a regular basis to strengthen relationships, understand changes in demand signal and receive customer feedback on Carderock-delivered products and services.
According to Carderock’s Reid McAllister, co-lead for the Navy’s Unmanned Vehicles and Autonomous Systems Working Group, the PMS 406 portfolio budget is in the billions of dollars.
“PMS 406 is a critical growing sponsor here at Carderock,” McAllister said. “We need to ensure Carderock is providing the best personnel and capabilities across Capt. Small’s portfolio.”
McNeal said it is the Navy’s responsibility to manage, maintain and sustain unmanned systems throughout their planned service life, regardless of what industry organization is awarded the contract to deliver the platform.
“As the unmanned acquisition portfolio continues to expand, Carderock must remain intimately involved with the design and fielding of this next generation, game-changing capability,” McNeal said. “Our involvement is key to ensuring we’re prepared to support these new planned additions to the future fleet.”
This meeting was not only beneficial to the PMS 406 team, but also to Carderock. McNeal said these types of customer engagements help Carderock to understand what is needed to shape what the future fleet will deliver in the way of technological advancements and capabilities. He said it is Carderock’s responsibility to provide technical solutions that meet affordability goals, while being fiscally aware of what is recommended in the way of design specifications and requirements.
“Customer feedback is the best way to understand how we’re doing in supporting our acquisition program sponsors,” McNeal said.