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NSWCDD Technical Director Presents Navy Award to West Virginia University Professor

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications | Oct. 2, 2019

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) Technical Director John Fiore presented an NSWCDD research award to a West Virginia University professor at a ceremony, Oct. 1.

Dr. Patrick Browning – assistant professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering at the university’s Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources – was recognized for his significant scientific and engineering achievements and contributions to the U.S. Navy’s surface ship research, development, test and evaluation.

Browning’s approach to achieve the required flight data necessary to produce a digital modeling and simulation capability that will provide the tools to evaluate warfighting performance against a formidable class of advanced threats impacts the Navy’s effort known as UAVAJ – named for a specific class of vehicles.

“Your contribution to UAVAJ has enabled the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division to deliver a test asset for Navy test and evaluation, enabling warfighting performance prediction, evaluation of performance gaps, and a path to new technology approaches to defeat this advanced class of threat systems,” said Fiore, in his letter of recognition to Browning. “The achievements are a credit to yourself, West Virginia University, and the U.S. Navy.”

Fiore also recognized the university’s mechanical and aerospace engineering faculty – Wade Huebsch, principal investigator and professor; Chris Griffin, teaching assistant professor; and Josh Bintrim, engineering scientist – who assisted Browning in his research project.

“You proposed and executed a unique, non-traditional experimental approach to achieve the required flight data necessary to produce a digital modeling and simulation capability that will provide the Navy the tools necessary to evaluate our warfighting performance against a formidable class of advanced threats,” Fiore stated.

West Virginia University communication specialist, Olivia Miller, who covered the ceremony, wrote the university’s news article on the award presentation released with the headline, “U.S. Navy recognizes mechanical and aerospace engineering professor for research contribution.” The West Virginia University article can be accessed via this link – https://wvutoday.wvu.edu/stories/2019/10/01/u-s-navy-recognizes-mechanical-and-aerospace-engineering-professor-for-research-contribution -- and as follows:

A West Virginia University professor received a rare research award today (Oct.1) from the United States Navy for his contributions to a critical research effort.

Patrick Browning, assistant professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering at the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources was presented the award – given only in unique circumstances — by John Fiore, technical director of the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD).

“For the Navy, this is a big deal. It has everything to do with allowing our sailors to come home and we appreciate that,” Fiore said.

Browning, whose research focuses on Unmanned Aerial Systems and experimental aerodynamics and aero-structural design with emphasis in Micro Aerial Vehicles, used a non-traditional experimental approach to solve complex flight representation problems required to test the warfare performance fighting capabilities of ships against an advanced threat.

“I tell my students all of the time, the folks who are working on this project, the work that we’re doing is impacting people in a real way – our men and women in uniform — not necessarily tomorrow, or next month, but eventually we’re giving them more safety out of what we’re doing,” Browning said. “So, we always keep that as our primary focus. Regardless of what’s going on, what’s critical is that taxpayer monies are going into helping us put our brains to work to help our men and women in uniform stay safe. That’s great in it of itself and this award is just the icing on the cake.”

Other mechanical and aerospace engineering faculty involved in the project include Principal Investigator and Professor Wade Huebsch, Teaching Assistant Professor Chris Griffin and Engineering Scientist Josh Bintrim. Each member of the project received a coin from Fiore on behalf of the U.S. Navy in recognition of their work.

Following the ceremony, members of the Navy and collaborating companies in attendance were given a tour of the WVU Reedsville Proving Grounds for a demonstration of the outdoor flight facility.

“This is a great achievement for us,” said Warren Boord, director for threat engineering at NSWCDD and program manager for the project. “We were able to deliver a product to the Navy when it was combined with some other things we had to do. It has been used and we have gotten some results that are very helpful to us. We appreciate the work that WVU has done.”

The details of the research project, “Characterization of Unsteady Aerodynamics for Unstable Free-Flight Bodies,” are designated For Official Use Only and are restricted.

Other organizations that have contributed to this research effort are Lockheed Martin, John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Systems Engineering Group, U.S. Naval Research Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Lab, CACI International, Naval Air Welfare Center and Naval Sea Systems Command Warfare Centers.