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NEWS | Oct. 17, 2019

An NSWC Crane nationally recognized expert receives second highest DoN award for electronic warfare efforts

By NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

CRANE, Ind. – A Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) employee received the Department of the Navy (DoN)’s second highest honorary award. Thomas Dalheim, Crane’s Spectrum Warfare System Department Senior Scientific Technical Manager (SSTM) for Advanced Electronic Warfare (EW), was awarded the DoN Superior Civilian Service Award in recognition of his contributions as an Airborne Electronic Attack expert at NSWC Crane from 1999 to 2019.

“As a nationally recognized leader, [Dalheim] enhanced electronic warfare technology for the United States Navy across the air, surface, and ground domains, and ensured maintainable systems to [his] current role as Distinguished Engineer for Advanced Electronic Warfare,” says the official award letter from Vice Admiral Thomas Moore, the Commander of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), to Dalheim. “[Dalheim’s] expertise in developing a replacement for the Navy’s EA-18G Growler’s outdated ALQ-99 jamming system, and [his] leadership in securing acquisition funding in a competitive fiscal environment will have a lasting impact on our nation’s electronic warfare superiority for decades to come.”

Dalheim started his career in 1985 at NSWC Crane. He entered the workforce through a co-operative education program at the University of Akron as a Mechanical Engineering Student Trainee. Though trained as a mechanical engineer, Mr. Dalheim’s knowledge and skills evolved around Radio Frequency (RF) engineering. “I was a fish out of water, but I found I could connect what I had learned to RF engineering in a manner that stuck with me over the years,” says Dalheim.

Dalheim says that people commonly use devices like cell phones, but they do not always think about how the technology works.

“So many systems used by the Navy and the other Services use the electromagnetic spectrum in some way. Electronic Warfare is the technology and practice of denying our adversaries the ability to sense, communicate, and control their systems while maintaining our ability to utilize the spectrum to our advantage,” says Dalheim. “Though it’s all around us each and every day and has transformed our lives, people don’t think much about this invisible force of nature that we can’t see, touch, feel, or smell.”

Dalheim says an example of how EW is used is to counter the improvised explosive device (IED) threat our service members face in the field.

During his career, Dalheim has spent time as a Branch Manager, has worked directly for the Program Office in D.C., and was selected as one of the first Chief Engineers at NSWC Crane. He has spent the last twenty-five years working directly for customers such as Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA), Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Program Office.

He began with a six-month rotation for the ALQ-99 Low Band Transmitter (LBT) program, charged with “getting the program off the ground.” The 6-month rotation for the LBT program grew into a four-year stint as the Level 1 Integrated Product Team lead managing all ALQ-99 tactical jamming systems improvements. “This assignment set the course of the rest of my career,” says Dalheim. “It provided me a strong understanding of how to translate warfighter needs into requirements, assess and mature technologies, competitively award development and production contracts, and field and sustain weapons systems.”

Dalheim left the program office in 1999 to help define the Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) Program, the replacement program of the outdated ALQ-99 jamming system. “We knew a future system would require technologies to be developed that were too immature at that time” says Dalheim. Working with DARPA, ONR, PMA-234, and broad industry base, Dalheim led the Next Generation AEA Future Naval Capabilities program to bring about these technologies.

Dalheim says he is fortunate to have spent his entire 34-year career at Crane.

“I view this as award not just as an acknowledgement of my own contributions over the past three and a half decades, but as recognition of the efforts of everyone on every team I’ve had the good fortune to lead over the years. This award belongs to them as much as it belongs to me.”

“When it comes to EW, there’s simply no other place in the country like Crane. While there are many other Warfare Center and Lab EW providers that are vital to ensuring our warfighters dominate our adversaries in the electromagnetic spectrum, no other place has depth and breadth of EW expertise and capabilities that reside here in southern Indiana at NSWC Crane.”

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.