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NEWS | Dec. 20, 2021

NSWC Crane uses S²MARTS OTA to rapidly prototype Electronic Warfare technology for the Fleet

By Sarah K. Miller, NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) uses its unique Other Transaction Authority (OTA) to rapidly prototype and evaluate innovative Electronic Warfare (EW) solutions for the fleet. The Strategic and Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S²MARTS) OTA is an agile acquisition tool NSWC Crane has leveraged for more than 10 spectrum-related projects this year.

The S²MARTS OTA focuses on two of NSWC Crane’s three mission areas. EW falls into the spectrum mission set and NSWC Crane is home to Naval Sea Systems Command’s (NAVSEA) Center of Excellence for Electronic Warfare. With approximately 1200 government employees, this Center of Excellence is the largest organic multi-domain and multi-service facility within the Department of Defense for EW.

Stacey Mervyn, the Chief Strategist for EW at NSWC Crane, says the S²MARTS OTA has been used for to prototype various solutions to meet EW needs for the warfighter.

“From an Electronic Warfare mission area perspective, we provide innovative solutions for multi-domain EW; we innovate across the spectrum to innovate and provide advanced EW capabilities,” says Mervyn. “We are leveraging the S²MARTS OTA vehicle to reach non-traditional providers to innovate and provide state-of-the-art technology we couldn’t normally reach and solutions span across all domains: air, ground, surface and across the spectrum including Infrared and Radio Frequency technologies.  We’ve been able to do this pretty rapidly; in most cases we have achieved results within the first year of execution. Another benefit is we have been able to evolve our EW mission applications because of who we can reach through this vehicle.”

Shaun Davis, the NSWC Crane Program Manager for S²MARTS, says this OTA has been beneficial in unique ways.

“It has allowed us to be able to interact with non-traditional defense contractors and other organizations while also allowing for flexibility in negotiating Intellectual Property (IP) and data rights,” says Davis. “The OTA gives us the opportunity to participate with companies that don’t normally do business with the Government; allowing them to come to the table with something innovative. Another unique aspect for us is we provide these businesses with a problem statement instead of a statement of work, which can get companies to think differently.”

Brooke Pyne, the Director for S2MARTS, says the partnership between NSWC Crane and S2MARTS is leveraged to access non-traditional solutions.

“The partnership between NSWC Crane’s Spectrum Warfare Systems Department and the S2MARTS OTA allows for non-traditionals and small businesses that might not typically propose on DoD work to bring unique and innovative solutions to the table,” stated Pyne. “The unique part of this partnership is that NSWC Crane comes to us with such specific and targeted problems, that is allows us to target non-traditionals more effectively.”

Davis also explains that another unique factor with the S²MARTS OTA is a shared mission of all parties involved.

“The teams do some vetting up front, and make sure projects and proposals fit within the scope of S²MARTS and that we do things the right way,” says Davis. “It’s a very collaborative process and the technical SMEs, NSWC Crane contracting, Office of Counsel, S²MARTS Program Management team, and NSTXL have a good working relationship and we have an efficient process down. There’s direct engagement between the government and the consortium. The direct link to Crane is good for the consortium.”

EW experts at NSWC Crane are using the S²MARTS OTA in a wide range of technologies, including Software Defined Radios (SDR) to defend against small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) threats, Gallium Nitride (GaN), spectral calibration and associated noise characterization of detection devices, as well as EW applications for unmanned systems.

“We aim to innovate across all domains of EW, ranging from prototyping strategic business processes and tools, developing novel uses of EW payloads to provide offensive and disruptive capabilities, modeling and simulation enhancements at the Force Level for EW, looking at advanced EW techniques, development, and new technologies,” says Mervyn. “We are using the S2MARTS OTA to prototype innovative EW capabilities for various unmanned systems and to seek different technology and capabilities to counter the unmanned system threats.”

Mervyn says S²MARTS is helping them think outside of the box.

“Through our EMS predictive modeling OTA project, we’ve been able to evaluate future warfighting needs and are gaining outside perspectives from national leaders across the DoD that will influence the development of future EW capabilities to enable us to leap ahead of near peer competitors,” says Mervyn. “The OTA has been instrumental for our EW mission area strategy to validate our current EW strategy as well as helping us predict future EW game-changing capabilities that we need to consider as we continue to evolve the EW strategy for the future. A different way we’ve been able to use the OTA is for strategic positioning where we are developing a prototype process for predictive Electromagnetic Spectrum modeling which will allow us to assess technology trends, market viability, and operational effectiveness so that we continue to elevate the competitive advantage for the warfighter through spectrum dominance. We are really looking to advance and get out in front of the threat, think outside of the box, and explore innovative Force Level electromagnetic warfare capabilities. Through these efforts we can come to the table with solutions that are aligned with not only the Navy’s strategic needs, but for broader DoD joint warfighting needs.”

The National Defense Strategy states, “We must transition to a culture of performance where results and accountability matter. We will put in place a management system where leadership can harness opportunities and ensure effective stewardship of taxpayer resources.” It continues on the importance of streamlining rapid development of technology, “A rapid, iterative approach to capability development will reduce costs, technological obsolescence, and acquisition risk.”

Davis says S²MARTS is a tool that many more could be leveraging to meet the future needs of the warfighter.

“There are still groups of people at NSWC Crane learning how to leverage this vehicle,” says Davis. “There’s a lot of opportunity to add additional workload as well as potentially more funding dollars to expand the portfolio and expand the work to execute.”

Those interested in learning more about opportunities through S²MARTS can visit this website: https://s2marts.org/opportunities/

About NSWC Crane

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.

Join Our Team! NAVSEA employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce - from students and entry level employees to experienced professionals and individuals with disabilities. We support today's sophisticated Navy and Marine Corps ships, aircraft, weapon systems and computer systems. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, and other STEM professionals, as well as talented business, finance, logistics and other support experts to ensure the U.S. Navy can protect and defend America. Please connect with NSWC Crane Recruiting at this site - https://navsea.recsolu.com/external/form/jmR6cUhZKZ_qD5QUqyMk8w or email us at crane_recruiting@navy.mil