NAVAL AIR WARFARE CENTER AIRCRAFT DIVISION, Patuxent River, Md. – Technical advancements and achievements from across the Command were recognized at the 17th Annual Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Commander’s and Innovation Awards ceremony at the Rear Adm. William A. Moffett Building, Patuxent (Pax) River in December.

“These awards today are but a small sample of your great work for the warfighter,” began Rear Adm. Shane Gahagan, Commander, NAWCAD, and assistant commander for Research and Engineering, Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR). “The demands on naval aviation are great and continue to grow. And, because of your experience, competence and judgement, we are able to meet them. At NAWCAD, our strength is our people.”

Individuals and teams were nominated in 12 categories for the Commander’s Awards and three categories for the Innovation Awards. One overall winner was chosen from 15 eligible patents for NAWCAD Patent of the Year.

NAWCAD Commander’s Individual Awards

Dr. Brandi Briggs, a mechanical engineer in the Nondestructive Inspection Branch, Pax River, was noted for her excellence in research, technology development and effective results in additive manufacturing.   Her ability to work across the Navy, Department of Defense component offices, and industry were critical to the rapid development and establishment of robust specifications and standards for additive manufacturing inspection.

Lieut. Jeffrey Lindbom, a project officer with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21, Pax River, coordinated and executed the multi-agency test of a prototype SH-60F Seahawk for Spanish foreign military sales despite significant maintenance, technical and programmatic barriers. His leadership resulted in the successful restoration, test and shipboard delivery of Spain’s newest H-60 aircraft. Lindbom spearheaded the identification, troubleshooting and correction of deficiencies and technical immaturities, providing the daily drumbeat that kept the entire maintenance rebuild, test and delivery on schedule, and provided a path for future H-60 aircraft to be restored out of preservation.

NAWCAD Commander’s Team Awards

E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Mission Playback Team, Pax River, led by Matthew Pruitt

The E-2 platform has never had a playback capability, resulting in a tactical disadvantage and training shortfall for the Navy’s only airborne tactical command and control platform. In 2015, the fleet identified this capability as an urgent requirement and requested an immediate solution. In response, the team developed and delivered an innovative software tool that uses readily available equipment in the squadron, saving $9.5 million and delivering the capability six years faster than traditional means.

Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) Water Twister Integrated Program Team, Lakehurst, New Jersey, led by Karine Mouradian

This team built a three-phase solution and organized a highly-specialized, multi-disciplined team to work in parallel on several design issues with the water twister aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). The water twister, a component of the arresting gear, is designed to absorb 70 percent of the force of an aircraft’s landing against an arresting wire, thereby reducing stress on the airframe during the landing and leading to increased aircraft longevity. The team used advanced analytical methods to support creative redesign and expeditiously responded to new issues on the fielded systems. Throughout all efforts, the team ensured safe operations at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst land-based test sites and aboard CVN 78, while developing future advanced technical solutions to fulfill the advanced arresting gear mission for the U. S. Navy.

Service Life Management Program Electronic Maintenance Logbook Team, Lakehurst, led by Joseph Hader and Thomas Rabbitt

As part of analyzing the reliability and availability of legacy arresting gear and launcher systems, the Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment Service (ALRES) Life Management Program discovered several shortcomings in the collection of maintenance data. The team worked with multiple fleet stakeholders to propose a new method of data collection. These efforts will not only reduce fleet work hours, but also will improve metric data quality for spare part demand and availability, and for analysis of sub-system maintenance efficiencies.

T-45 Contamination Detection Team, Pax River, led by John Krohn

When T-45 Goshawk aircrews were experiencing unexpected physiological symptoms, this team rapidly developed contamination detection techniques for the aircraft. They designed four contamination detection apparatuses for use in the aircraft to assess air quality and improve safety. These devices have been used on more than 120 aircraft to not only detect harmful contaminants, but also to develop a statistical baseline of what types of compounds are present within the system. Even though contamination was not discovered, this effort provided leadership with the ability to properly allocate resources to other mitigation efforts.

H-1 Light Attack Helicopters Dynamic Interface Test Team, HX-21, Pax River, led by Maj. Patrick Flores, Kristen Finnegan and Joshua Marvin

The team needed to conduct test and evaluation of the UH-1Y helicopter aboard an amphibious transport dock (LPD 17) class ship. This class of ships are warships that embark, transport and land elements of a landing force for a variety of expeditionary warfare missions. Due to naval operational tempo and training commitments, scheduling an LPD class ship stateside for Category C flight test was not feasible. The team struck upon the idea to communicate directly to the fleet through the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron (MAWTS) 1 “Skid” newsletter. Within a month of contact with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the team was on its way to conduct restrictive wind envelope testing aboard an LPD 17 class ship.

MH-60S Seahawk Helmet Display and Tracking System Team, HX-21, Pax River, led by Lt. Cmdr. Kathleen Pauls and Lt. Cmdr. Michael Umholtz

The team successfully completed a capabilities based test and evaluation (CBTE) program for the helmet display and tracking system while overcoming significant technical and programmatic challenges. Early in development, the team was confronted with the need to streamline the test scope in order to meet an aggressive deployment schedule. Using a CBTE approach, the team transformed a classical developmental test program into a more rigorous capabilities assessment. This transformation required extensive coordination with internal and external stakeholders and fleet support activities. Additionally, the team demonstrated engineering excellence in quickly identifying technical issues, working with industry partners to formulate solutions, and minimizing schedule impacts. The result was a successful test that fielded a new MH-60S targeting system along with tactics and training information in direct support of fleet deployment work-ups.

MQ-4C Triton Integrated Test Team, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20, Pax River, led by Cmdr. Daniel Martin

The team completed testing across 33 test plans in fiscal year 2017 following major hardware modifications and 10 software modifications to three unmanned aircraft and three mission control systems. The team’s developmental testing of the fleet configuration for the MQ-4C will directly support delivery of the Navy’s premier maritime patrol and reconnaissance capable weapon system. In total, the team executed 60 aircraft test sorties, totaling 416.6 hours and 230 aircraft ground test events, totaling 1,246.6 hours.

Surface/Aviation Interoperability Laboratory (SAIL) Netted Sensors 2017 Team, Pax River, led by Jeffrey Turner and Todd Walter

During July-August 2017, SAIL and the Atlantic Test Ranges (ATR) hosted the Netted Sensors at-Sea 2017 experiment in support of Fleet Forces Command and the Naval Warfare Development Command. SAIL functioned as an aircraft carrier, and ATR played the role of red cell opposing forces while providing increased situational awareness for the entire exercise team. The live fleet event included USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), a mobile unit serving as a submarine, and numerous Navy and Air Force aircraft. This demonstration provided the live virtual constructive (LVC) environment necessary for supporting the warfighter with the next-generation of exercises, experimentation, and wargames.

MQ-8 Fire Scout Test Team, Unmanned Aircraft Test Directorate, Webster Field, St. Inigoes, Maryland, led by Jennifer Thomas and Howard Gofus

The team completed the consolidation of MQ-8B and MQ-8C test programs to a single site at Webster Field. The move enhanced efficiency in combined software testing and enabled the completion of combined increment software series testing in support of MQ-8C operational test. The team successfully executed developmental test Phase 2 for the coastal battlefield reconnaissance and analysis sensor as integrated on the MQ-8B at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The team also safely completed the MQ-8C dynamic interface testing aboard a Littoral Combat Ship, providing the fleet with a significant operating wind envelope after only five days of “at-sea” test time.

Squad Overmatch Team, NAWC Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD), Orlando, Florida, led by Dr. Laura Milham

This team was recognized for their accomplishments in the development and transition of an integrated curriculum for Army and Marine Corps infantry squads to manage tactical and medical situations through improved mental resilience, threat reaction, casualty treatment, teamwork, communication and team level self-improvement. The Squad Overmatch curriculum has been successfully transitioned to U. S. Marine Corps sites with the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines and the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines in the Second Marine Expeditionary Force, as well as Army U. S. Central Command in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, and the 25th Infantry Division Pacific Command. The team’s curriculum will be incorporated into infantry curricula for all Pacific Command forces by Commanding General Pacific Command.

NAWCAD Innovation Awards

Acquisition Support Category (Team):  Tomahawk Integrated Government Scheduling Team, Pax River, led by David Ballot Sr.

The team provided scheduling expertise to the Program Management Activities Tomahawk Weapons System (PMA 280) and Strike Planning and Execution Systems (PMA 281) in support of the Tomahawk weapons system. The team coordinated project efforts to ensure that acquisition objectives met project commitments and were accomplished within the program timeframe. Through the development of a dynamically linked, complex network of multiple schedules which emphasized schedule risk mitigation, improved task definition, and interdependencies, the team achieved a six-month improvement to the estimated operation test readiness review milestone date as demonstrated by schedule risk assessment results.

Technical Support Category (Individual): Edward Lizotte, NAWCTSD

Lizotte developed and implemented a model that generates realistic shipping and background noise to stimulate sonar (acoustic) system displays. This model, when incorporated with an historical shipping database, dramatically improves the realism of the acoustic information displayed to the operator. This first-of-its-kind solution provides the high-fidelity realism required for mission rehearsal training, and meets interoperability standards during anti-submarine warfare LVC training events.

Technical Support Category (Team): Submarine Electronic Warfare Adaptive Trainer Team, NAWCTSD, led by Dr. Wendi Van Buskirk

The team is developing an adaptive training capability for the next generation electronic warfare (EW) support system for U.S. submarines. Their trainer is being used to fulfill critical submarine force training gaps identified by the Electronic Warfare Wholeness Campaign and Submarine Tactical Requirements Group. Encouraged by positive fleet feedback and demonstrated performance gains, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet requested delivery of trainer prototypes to six submarine learning centers, allowing EW operators to use a stand-alone capability while in port, and a “Departure from Requirements” waiver was granted to allow the trainer to be placed on-board in fiscal year 2018 for EW operators to train at sea.

NAWCAD Patent of the Year

U. S. Patent 8,801,866 “Composition and Method for Cleaning and Removing Oleaginous Materials from Composites,” Inventors: Dr. El Sayed Arafat, Dane Hanson, Dr. Raymond Meilunas

The composite structures of aircraft often become contaminated by maintenance fluids during the course of normal operation. Current chemical cleaners can be hazardous, require a controlled environment to protect workers and are very expensive and/or time consuming. This new, patented product is an environmentally-compliant cleaner for composite structures, contains no ozone-depleting substances and does not require special worker protection equipment for use. It’s made from inexpensive, readily available materials. More information can be found at