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Live Fire Test and Evaluation Team wins Navy award after years in the making

By Cierra Camper | NSWC PCD Public Affairs | Sept. 21, 2020

PANAMA CITY, Fla. —

Two Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) personnel were awarded for supporting an effort to complete a Live Fire Test and Evaluation (LFT&E) program. During this program, the team expanded the understanding of the mine susceptibility of both Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Variants through simulation and sea testing.

Nicole Waters, E42 branch head and former Advanced Mine Simulation System (AMISS) test director, and Randy Horne, technical program manager for threat analysis and exploitation, contributed to an AMISS mission that was ready to enter the test and evaluation phase when Category 5 Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle.

“I was sitting on a ship in California watching Hurricane Michael coverage in October 2018 with ten other NSWC PCD team members as a drone flew over Mexico Beach showing the damage,” said Waters. “I had to make the hardest professional call of my life that day to Randy Horne and tell him our personnel needed to come back as many of us didn’t know what remained and many could not get ahold of our families.” 

Waters served as the lead test director for the AMISS trial. Her responsibilities included planning, re-planning, logistics, test direction, execution of ship trial, safety, and reporting all AMISS events. Horne managed the overall LCS effort, which included the AMISS sea testing, a tremendous amount of computer simulations, and documentation of the overall efforts. Horne also wrote the Total Mine Simulation System verification, validation, and accreditation report for which the sea test data using AMISS was paramount. In addition, he wrote roughly 75% of the Mine Susceptibility portion of the LCS LFT&E report.

Waters and Horne played vital roles in the making and success of this project. They were among over 50 other key players and teams, including technical experts from the LCS Shipbuilding Program Office, Combat System Programs, NSWC Carderock, NSWC Philadelphia, and fleet organizations including U.S. Fleet Forces Command, and LCS Squadrons One and Two.

After Hurricane Michael, the team re-planned the entire event on the opposite side of the country and executed a safe and successful AMISS trial less than six months later in March 2019 on USS Sioux City by basing the new plan from the original plan for the cancelled West Coast testing.

Waters said the team showed “the utmost resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity” when the mission was put on pause due to Hurricane Michael.

Waters and Horne both stated they felt honored when hearing the news about the team winning the Department of the Navy Test and Evaluation Team Award. Horne noted the magnitude of the effort in the midst of adversity is significant.

The team’s hard work, resilience, determination, and commitment to ensuring warfighting dominance in the littoral battlespace further solidified the critical role NSWC PCD provides in supporting the fleet.