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U.S. Navy Interns from Virginia and Maryland High Schools Tour NSWC Dahlgren Division

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications Division | July 10, 2019

DAHLGREN, Va. – Navy scientists and engineers briefed high school students participating in the Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP) during tours of Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Division, July 2.

The students – who intern at either Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren Division or NSWC Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (NSWC IHEODTD) this summer – have been engaged in research and development work impacting technological programs and projects at both commands.

NSWCDD experts on the electromagnetic railgun, high-energy lasers, human systems integration, and gun range operations answered questions during a tour that gave students an overview of the command’s capabilities in developing technologies for today’s Fleet and the future Navy.   

The internship program encourages students to pursue science and engineering careers while furthering their education via mentoring by Navy scientists and engineers. As the high school students participate in research efforts, they become aware of the myriad of Navy civilian employment opportunities.

SEAP provides an opportunity for students to participate in research at a Department of Navy laboratory during the summer. The internship program encourages students to pursue science and engineering careers while furthering their education via mentoring by Navy scientists and engineers. As the high school students participate in research and development efforts, they become aware of the myriad of Navy civilian employment opportunities.

Background on the major technological programs briefed to SEAP interns:

  • Electromagnetic railguns provide a capability for sustained, offensive power projection, complementary to missiles and tactical aircraft. They may be a cost-effective solution to the Marine Corp Naval Surface Fire Support requirements because of their unique capability to simultaneously satisfy three key war-fighting objectives: extremely long ranges, short time-of-flight and high lethality (energy-on-target).
  • Directed energy weapon systems, including high-energy laser and high-powered microwave systems, provide warfighters with novel technologies to defeat threats with high precision and high-speed engagement. Driven from recent successes – such as the installation and demonstration of the Laser Weapon System on USS Ponce – multiple research, development, integration, testing, and prototyping efforts are underway to rapidly deliver these game-changing technologies to the fleet.
  • The Integrated Command Environment (ICE) and Human Performance Laboratory (HPL) team and facilities, due to the location at Dahlgren and partnership with the Center for Surface Combat Systems, provide a valuable link between science and technology, research and development activities, and the acquisition and Fleet communities. Performing research in the context of operational needs ensures Fleet interest and participation, appropriate focus, and a clear transition path. Strong Fleet participation and human systems engineering expertise have been key to the success of the ICE/HPL.
  • The ICE/HPL team's focus is human performance, stressing optimization of manpower, usability, maintainability, decision support, and knowledge superiority in an effort to enhance the capabilities of our warfighters and improve total system performance and affordability over the entire life-cycle of a platform or system. A sound systems engineering approach is applied to problems, emphasizing that a system is not only composed of hardware and software but also includes the human operators, maintainers, decision makers, and the shore support infrastructure manpower.
  • The Potomac River Test Range gun line: Since 1918, Dahlgren has been an important national resource for the testing of naval guns and ammunition as well as for a wide variety of military testing and training efforts utilizing explosive and non-explosive ordnance. Highlights of Dahlgren's ordnance work include test-firing every type of naval gun and its ammunition, and conducting a variety of short-term programs, such as serving as a bombing range for military pilot training during World War II. Dahlgren has two range complexes where most ordnance is tested: the Potomac River Test Range and the Explosives Experimental Area.

In recent years, efforts to use modeling and simulation test methods whenever possible have significantly diminished the level and type of operations. However, some level of live gunfire and explosives testing will be necessary, resulting in noise that is audible beyond the confines of the installation. Guns shoot multiple bursts or intermittent single rounds and detonations are usually heard as booms or rumbles. Scheduled operations can be accessed by visiting the NSWC Dahlgren Division website at http://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/WarfareCenters/NSWCDahlgren/NSWCDDRangeSchedule or by calling our toll-free hotline: 877-845-5656.

NSWCDD is a premier research and development center that serves as a specialty site for weapon system integration. The command's unique ability to rapidly introduce new technology into complex warfighting systems is based on its longstanding competencies in science and technology, research and development, and test and evaluation.

NSWC IHEODTD brings together the DoD’s largest full-spectrum facility for energetics – explosives, propellants, pyrotechnics, reactive materials, related chemicals and fuels used in ordnance and propulsion systems –with the largest concentration of EOD technology resources in the world.