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NEWS | June 12, 2024

NSWC Dahlgren Division’s Aurora Software Foundry Joint Laser Deconfliction Safety Software Team Wins Prestigious 2024 Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award

By Dorina Watermolen, NSWCDD Corporate Communications

In the highly competitive landscape of Navy-wide recognition, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division’s (NSWCDD) Aurora Software Foundry (ASF) Joint Laser Deconfliction Safety Software (JLDSS) Team has achieved an impressive victory by securing the prestigious Assistant Secretary of the Navy (ASN) (Research, Development and Acquisition (RD&A)) 2024 Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award. This honor highlights the team's unwavering dedication, innovative spirit and significant contributions to enhancing laser safety systems within the Department of Defense. 

The Etter Award, named after Dr. Delores M. Etter, a former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology and former ASN(RD&A), is presented annually to scientists and engineers for superior accomplishments that benefit naval operations. This award celebrates technical proficiency and the operational impact of these innovations on the Navy’s mission and capabilities. 

The ASF JLDSS Team, consisting of Dr. Udayan Bhapkar, Lindsey Klunder, James Latourell, Ryan Lesher and William Smith, has revolutionized conventional paradigms of laser safety with their groundbreaking decentralized model for use in their Deconfliction Safety Software. “This state-of-the-art system negates the need for ongoing coordination with Laser Clearinghouse,” said Michael Williams Jr., Directed Energy System Software Branch head. “Instead, it utilizes downloaded satellite orbital data to calculate safe-to-fire zones in real-time, with enough accuracy to double the amount of time available for performing laser operations.”  

The team dedicated over two years to extensive numerical validations, covering critical aspects, such as satellite propagation, atmospheric refraction and geometric intersection. Their rigorous approach and meticulous attention to detail have resulted in a scalable, reliable and flexible deconfliction system that stands as a testament to their technical excellence and operational benefit to the Department of the Navy and national defense. 

The ASF JLDSS Team is also the recipient of the 1st Quarter Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems Excellence Award. This recognition further cements their status as leaders in delivering high-quality, innovative solutions that enhance product quality, technical innovation, cost control and organizational efficiency. 

At NSWCDD, innovation, teamwork and perseverance are essential to achieving mission goals. The ASF JLDSS Team embodies these values, demonstrating the dedication necessary to deliver top-tier products and capabilities for Navy operations.