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Navy Selects NSWC Dahlgren Division Scientist as Technical Leader for SLBM Fire Control and Targeting

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications | April 8, 2020

DAHLGREN, Va. – A Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) principal systems scientist was selected as the Navy’s Senior Scientific and Technical Manager (SSTM) for Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) Fire Control and Targeting, the command announced April 8.

Dr. Mark Anderson – chosen through a competitive process from a very distinguished candidate pool – will be responsible for planning, formulating, conducting, and coordinating basic and applied research and technology development to expand the state-of-the-art and develop new capabilities for the SLBM systems of the future.

The SLBM has been an integral part of the United States’ strategic nuclear deterrent triad. As the most survivable leg of the triad, the SLBM provides Strategic Command, the National Command Authority, and the U.S. president with assured second-strike capability. Starting in 1956 with the Polaris (A1) and evolving through five subsequent generations including Polaris (A2), Polaris (A3), Poseidon (C3), Trident I (C4) and today's force of Trident II (D5), each generation of the missile has increased in range, payload, and accuracy.

"I look forward in teaming with Strategic Systems Programs, industry partners and other government stakeholders as NSWC Dahlgren Division evolves SLBM Fire Control and Mission Planning Systems to be much more flexible, adaptable and efficient in quickly meeting Navy and warfighter needs," said Anderson in response to his selection.

Anderson has 32 years of experience in SLBM Targeting and Fire Control and possesses extensive breadth and depth across this domain. He is a recognized expert in guidance control, navigation, geoballistic dynamics, reentry body performance, gravity, geodetic effects, weather, system accuracy, and targeting analysis.

“Over his career, he has designed and implemented multiple technical capabilities into the Fire Control System of the SLBM Strategic Weapon System (SWS), including accuracy improvements for the Trident D5 weapon system, in-flight gravity model improvements, target weather error model, new fusing accuracy error methodologies, and a new Fire Control Star Catalog and associated methodologies,” said NSWCDD Technical Director John Fiore and NSWCDD Commanding Officer Capt. Casey Plew in an all hands email.

The Trident II SWS is deployed aboard Ohio-class (Trident) submarines and consists of: the Trident II D5 SLBM: reentry system; and supporting shipboard systems.

The Trident II D5 SLBM is a three-stage, solid-fuel, inertially-guided missile with a range of 4,000 nautical miles capable of carrying multiple W76-Mk4/Mk4A or W88-Mk5 reentry bodies. The missile is launched by the pressure of expanding gas within the launch tube. When the missile broaches the waterline, it enters the boost phase, expending its first, second, and third-stage rocket motors. Following third-stage motor separation, the missile deploys the reentry bodies.

“Dr. Anderson is a proven leader with an excellent reputation and established relationships across the spectrum of government, industry, and academia partners in the SWS community,” Plew and Fiore added in their announcement.

Anderson earned his Doctorate and Master of Science degrees in physics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in engineering physics from the University of Colorado. 

NSWCDD's mission is to provide research, development, test and evaluation, analysis, systems engineering, integration and certification of complex naval warfare systems related to surface warfare, strategic systems, combat and weapons systems associated with surface warfare. The command also provides system integration and certification for weapons, combat systems and warfare systems and fulfills other responsibilities assigned by the NSWC commander.