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NEWS | Sept. 10, 2020

NSWC Corona NISE Project Unlocks Increased Capabilities for At-Sea Test Events

By By Matthew Khalil and Candice Villarreal, Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona Corporate Communications NSWC Corona

Just nine months into a $600,000 investment across three Warfare Centers, the Enterprise Data Processing System (EDPS) has solved an emergent need in supporting a live fire test event and saved the Navy millions in cost avoidance.

The EDPS is a Naval Innovative Science and Engineering (NISE) project collaboration between Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Corona Division, NSWC Dahlgren and NSWC Port Hueneme that seeks to find solutions in SmartData filtering capabilities and support modern, advanced data needs in an at-sea environment.

Traditional satellite data transmission rates constrain movement of critical data from sea to shore, limiting situational awareness for decision makers, analysts and shore-based support, potentially hindering the ability to get information back to the warfighter as quickly as desired in a maritime environment. SmartData filtering solves this problem by identifying and prioritizing the data needed to provide quick and effective shore-based decisions.

“The speed at which we transmit data is an important factor in readiness and lethality,” said NSWC Corona Commanding Officer Capt. Khary Hembree-Bey. “We want combatant commanders to be able to send and receive data in the fastest manner possible to enable them to fight and win without delay, so any time we can increase that speed, it’s a win.”

Following successful SmartData experiments leveraging test and evaluation events aboard USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) in May, NSWC Corona again deployed the prototype capability to support an emergent fleet need in testing aboard the USS Howard (DDG 83) during Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile testing events in July.

To test the capability and timelines aboard Howard, a particular set of limitations reduced the ability to procure sufficient Ku-Band space segment to conduct traditional at-sea live missile testing. Using this scenario, the shipboard test team would be limited to a smaller bandwidth than the typical amount of bandwidth used during at-sea events, the same capability gap that EDPS intends to close with SmartData filtering.

Although still in beta version, SmartData filtering was tested as a means of transferring data off the ship through a smaller pipeline. Leading into the event, the team conducted a simulated SmartData test event at the NSWC Dahlgren Integrated Warfare Systems Laboratory using available previously collected data. Based on their findings, Corona engineers calculated theoretical data generation rates and determined expected data transfer times based on the limited transfer speed. The lab test showed possible reduction of raw data files by an average of 90 percent.

As the first week of events were executed, Corona Aegis Weapon System (AWS) analysts verified the SmartData sets were sufficient to produce products needed for execution risk mitigation. This was the first time SmartData was being used as a primary data source for an at-sea test event, and Corona data managers provided SmartData files to the Collaborative Analysis Team (CAT) at remote sites across the technical community to assist with troubleshooting issues during the underway.

Exponentially larger swaths of recorded data were requested during the test that would be have been previously unachievable without SmartData. It was working, and it was working well.

Using the technology, the Corona team was able to reduce file sizes significantly and move the data to the shoreline quickly. This feature was an imperative component; SmartData provided the additional data required for the analysis team at Corona to help the test director make critical decisions for test execution.

"SmartData enabled us to filter data to only the extraction points we needed – on the fly –

to make a $10 million test event decision within 25 minutes of the data being recorded on the combat system itself,” said Data Analysis Coordinator Lead Mike Stefanoff. “It enabled them to then launch targets immediately as we gave them the thumbs up.”

In the end, the result of the experiments showed SmartData was capable of providing the CAT with the necessary information to produce very high level products for at-sea test events, opening the door to the future of critical ship-to-shore data transfer.

The demonstrations allowed for adjustments to the code and strategy as Corona moves forward into Year 2 of the NISE project to ultimately provide the fleet with a finalized solution to data and bandwidth issues.

“Our systems were already efficient, but even faster speeds with SmartData filtering are a game changer when seconds count,” said Hembree-Bey. “We focus every day on how to support the warfighter, how to make the Navy five times and ten times faster. This is a great example of one way we can do that, and we’re excited to see more success stories come out of this NISE project in critical applications.”

Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona, headquartered in Norco, California, is the Navy's premier independent analysis and assessment agent, using measurement, analysis and assessment to enable our warfighters to train, fight and win. The center analyzes warfare systems readiness and performance, engineers the Fleet’s Live Virtual Constructive training network and environment, and advises and administratively manages the Navy and Marine Corps metrology and calibration program. Capt. Khary Hembree-Bey commands the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) field activity with a workforce of more than 3,700 scientists, engineers, contractors and support staff.