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Carderock Employee Receives PEO IWS Excellence Award for Historic Missile Test

By Dustin Q. Diaz, NSWC Carderock Division Public Affairs | Aug. 9, 2016

WEST BETHESDA, Md. —

A Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD) employee received a Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) Excellence Award July 28.

Brian Lang received the award for his critical role in the first live-fire test firing of a Sea-Launched Rolling Airframe Missile (SeaRAM) weapon system from a guided-missile destroyer.

Lang, a SeaRAM Team member with Carderock's Underwater Explosions Research and Development Branch (Code 661), was aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) when testing began at sea near Rota, Spain, Feb. 25, which was also the first time Rota's test range was used.

"It's exciting to fire a new missile system for the first time," Lang said. "In this case, the concept moved from a white paper to actually shooting down a drone in 12 months, so that was pretty impressive. SeaRAM extends the range that destroyers over the Mediterranean [Sea] can intercept incoming threats -- missiles, drones, that kind of thing. It increases defensive capability."

The SeaRAM close-in weapons system (CIWS) is a complete combat weapon system that automatically detects, evaluates, tracks, engages and performs kill assessment against anti-ship misssiles and high-speed aircraft threats in an extended self-defense battle space envelope around the ship. It combines two fleet-proven weapon systems -- Block 1B Phalanx CIWS and the RAM Guided-Missile Weapon System. It also features an 11-round launcher assembly missile system on a single mount.

Lang said Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, the lead warfare center for structural test firing, asked for Carderock's assistance in testing the missiles. Lang led the Carderock team of three other employees who assisted with testing the missiles -- Matt Strawbridge and Shahram Kazemzadehmarand of the Dynamic Measurements and Testing Branch (Code 663) and Craig VandeVusse (Code 661), who Lang said deserve equal recognition for successfully supporting the SeaRAM structural test firing.

"Every new weapon-launching system that goes on any ship has to have a structural test firing. You have to make sure the ship is not going to get damaged from firing its own weapons," Lang said. "We installed strain gauges and accelerometers in and around the SeaRAM, underneath it and on the structure that supports it. So we did the structural measurements and took the data to make an assessment on whether firing the missile would damage the ship or not. Our role was very small, but critical. We're part of the test and evaluation team that makes sure a new system is safe to deploy."

Lang said he thought the test went very smoothly and was well-coordinated, especially with so many different government agencies and contractors involved, and added he appreciated going to Rota and getting underway aboard Porter to do the work.

"It was planned well and executed well," Lang said. "It's always good to be reminded of why we're here working, because we don't interact with the operational side of the Navy much. It's also rewarding to see where the end product goes and how it is used, as well as seeing how the Sailors are living and talking to them."

Rear Adm. Tom Druggan, the major program manager for AEGIS Integrated Combat Systems in PEO IWS, praised the SeaRAM Team for their contributions to a successful project.

"The successful March 2016 Combat System Ship Qualification Trial of the SeaRAM capability concluded a year's worth of ground-breaking effort for the engineering and acquisition professionals in PEO IWS," Druggan wrote in the team's award nomination. "The accomplishment of this unprecedented effort demonstrated programmatic and technical excellence as well as individual dedication to the mission that should serve as an example to all."