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Home : Media : News
NEWS | May 1, 2024

NUWC Division Newport engineers assist robotics team at FIRST World Championship

By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs

Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport engineers assisted the Aquidneck Island Robotics (AIR) FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team 78, also known as AIR Strike, win its division and place fifth overall at the FIRST World Championship held in Houston, Texas, from April 17-20.

The team which trains at Division Newport’s Undersea Collaboration and Technology Outreach Center is sponsored by Division Newport and the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). About half of the team’s mentors are engineers at Division Newport and the following attended the world championships: Michael Desousa, Chief Technology Office; Carly Winters and Timothy Sieben, both of the Undersea Warfare (USW) Combat Systems Department; Aidan Lynch and Joshua Wolf, both of the USW Electromagnetic Systems Department; Richard Blight, Thomas Dolan and Elizabeth Stevens, all from the Ranges, Engineering and Analysis Department, and Alexander Corey, USW Weapons, Vehicles and Defensive Systems Department.

AIR Strike is a community-based team comprised of 26 students from 15 communities in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. This marked AIR Strike’s 15th year in FRC, which is an annual competition envisioned by inventor Dean Kamen. Coined “the varsity sport for the mind,” these events allow high school students to apply engineering principals to design, prototype and compete against peers from other areas.

After AIR Strike competed at a district event held at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, it secured the top-seeded position and swept the bracket to bring home the first-place prize. Based on the results of two more events in Massachusetts, AIR Strike earned a qualifying spot at the FIRST World Championship in Houston. This event hosts 600 teams from around the world, split into eight divisions.

After its initial qualification matches, AIR Strike was chosen by the top-ranked team to compete alongside it. The local squad went undefeated in its divisional tournament, earning yet another first-place trophy and a spot in the interdivisional Einstein bracket, the winner of which would be the 2024 champion. This marked the first time AIR Strike advanced to the Einstein playoff tournament, where it finished fifth among all teams.

As its members return home, AIR Strike looks forward to continuing its mission of fostering creativity, teamwork and technological innovation within its communities and students. For more information about Aquidneck Island Robotics, a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization and its programs, visit

NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher's Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.

Join our team! NUWC Division Newport, one of the 20 largest employers in Rhode Island, employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, and other STEM professionals, as well as talented business, finance, logistics and other support experts who wish to be at the forefront of undersea research and development. Please connect with NUWC Division Newport Recruiting at this site-  and follow us on LinkedIn @NUWC-Newport and on Facebook @NUWCNewport.