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NEWS | Feb. 14, 2022

NUWC Division Newport senior engineer wins 2020 ONR Prize for Affordability for work on advanced antenna

By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs

Dr. David Tonn, a senior engineer in the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport’s Antennas and Electronic Warfare Sensors Branch of Undersea Warfare Electromagnetic Systems Department, has won the 2020 Office of Naval Research (ONR) Prize for Affordability.

This prestigious annual award recognizes an innovative and exemplary Department of the Navy scientist, engineer or science and technology (S&T) program manager who has demonstrated cost savings through S&T projects of the highest technical quality that are directly relevant to naval warfighting needs.

Tonn, a resident of Charlestown, Rhode Island, has for the past several years led S&T efforts to improve the performance of the submarine buoyant cable antenna. An initial concept began with his doctoral research and through several funded efforts, resulted in a working model of a new buoyant cable antenna.

“The Advanced Buoyant Cable Antenna provides increased power gain in the portions of the radio spectrum where Battleforce Tactical Network and the Automatic Identification System operate, translating to increased operational range and situational awareness for platform commanders while the platform remains submerged below periscope depth,” the award states.

Following successful prototype testing, the Undersea Integration Program Office (PMW 770) of the Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (PEO C4I) began the planning required to introduce the Advanced Buoyant Cable Antenna as the new standard in the fleet, replacing both of the legacy buoyant cable antenna elements currently in use.

“The Advanced Buoyant Cable Antenna combines the functionality of each of these antennas into a single element that is fully compatible with all legacy buoyant cable antenna hardware, reducing logistics product costs by 50% and sparing requirements associated with the buoyant cable antenna as the supply system will only support one antenna element instead of two,” the award states.

In 2020, the Advanced Buoyant Cable Antenna transitioned to acquisition and PMW 770 issued a Request for Information to industry for white papers on fabrication capabilities, which is the first step toward large-scale production of the Advanced Buoyant Cable Antenna.

In 2021, Tonn won the Delores M. Etter Award for outstanding contributions by an individual scientist.

Tonn and associate counselor Jean-Paul Nasser, Code 00L, won the 2018 Vice Adm. Harold G. Bowen Award for Patented Inventions.

In 2013, Tonn received the IEEE Harry Diamond Memorial Award for his contributions to the field of submarine antenna technology.

Tonn will receive an award certificate and plaque at a future ceremony.

NUWC Division Newport is a shore command of the U.S. Navy within the Naval Sea Systems Command, which engineers, builds and supports America’s fleet of ships and combat systems. NUWC Newport provides research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, undersea offensive and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures associated with undersea warfare.

NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher's Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.

Join our team! NUWC Division Newport, one of the 20 largest employers in Rhode Island, employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, and other STEM professionals, as well as talented business, finance, logistics and other support experts who wish to be at the forefront of undersea research and development. Please connect with NUWC Division Newport Recruiting at this site- and follow us on LinkedIn @NUWC-Newport and on Facebook @NUWCNewport.