INDIAN HEAD, Md. - Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian
Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (NSWC IHEODTD) welcomed
Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (ASN
RDA), Sean Stackley, Aug. 28, during a visit to demonstrate how the command
leads efforts to increase range and lethality of energetic materials and
provides life-saving tools, technologies and information.
"This was a unique and interesting day," said
Stackley. "One of the best parts of my job is getting the opportunity to
meet the folks who are actually doing the hard work on these critical systems -
everything from leading-edge technologies to working with the warfighters going
The secretary was joined by Deputy Assistant Secretary of
the Navy for Expeditionary Programs and Logistics Management Thomas Dee; and
Executive Director of the Naval Surface and Undersea Warfare Center Don
"We're honored the Secretary devoted an entire day
to better understanding the organic, in-house capabilities and expertise this
division provides the Navy and Department of Defense," said NSWC IHEODTD
Technical Director Ashley Johnson.
"The men and women of this command never want our
warfighters to go into a fair fight. Our purpose is to fly farther, hit harder
and save lives," added NSWC IHEODTD Commanding Officer Capt. Vincent
Martinez. "We're very passionate about that mission, and the workforce
enjoyed demonstrating our capabilities to the Secretary."
The group visited work stations to learn about the
division's advances to increase lethality, such as its support of
Countermeasure Anti-Torpedo and other ordnance systems, development of reactive
materials and research in the area of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). In
the MEMS clean-room - one of the only clean rooms currently rated for use of
energetic materials - the visitors learned how decreasing fuse size can
increase capabilities or capacities in other areas of existing platforms.
Following a micro-scale detonation of materials, Stackley
traveled to the division's Energetics Manufacturing Complex to witness the
extrusion process of MK 90 grains used in the Hydra 70 (2.75-inch) rocket
system; and then to the Systems Engineering Center to discuss the Navy-priority
efforts such as the Digital Rocket Launcher and densified propellant
development; and the cartridge- and propellant-actuated devices (CAD / PAD).
The command also demonstrated the use of energetics beyond weapon systems at
the Detonation Science Facility by quickly and precisely cutting through thick
metal with linear shaped charges and a modified thermal lance.
After a quick Mark VI boat ride down the Potomac River to
the command's EOD site, senior- and master-level EOD technicians assigned to
the Technical Support Detachment (TSD) Combined Explosive Exploitation Cell
platoons guided the secretary through a unique EOD scenario. Stackley was
suited in protective EOD gear, transported to the site's test range, and
experienced "the Lonely Walk."
Accompanied by a TSD EOD technician, Stackley traveled on foot to a
waterfront test range where two abandoned vehicles waited to be investigated.
After returning to the bunker, he used an autonomous robotic EOD ground system
to trigger the device and render it safe.
The secretary ended the day by meeting with the
division's EOD Department civilian engineers and learned how these individuals
provide information, tools and technologies to technicians and first responders
so they can safely return from their own "Lonely Walk."
"There's a lot to be said for the corporate
co-location of folks in uniform who are going into theater, understanding what
the problems are, and coming back to work directly with our engineers and
testers," said Stackley. "We need this shared knowledge. Not only
does it benefit the warfighter by delivering better products, it also benefits
those senior-level officers who later on may want to become a program manager.
It gives them that hands-on experience they need to have."
NSWC IHEODTD, a command within Naval Sea Systems Command
(NAVSEA) and a part of the Naval Research and Development Establishment, leads
the Navy in energetics, energetic materials and Explosive Ordnance Disposal
(EOD) knowledge, tools, equipment. Headquartered
in Indian Head, Md., NSWC Indian Head EOD Technology Division also includes
detachments in Louisville, Ky., Picatinny, N.J., McAlester, Okla. and Ogden,