NAVAL AIR WARFARE CENTER AIRCRAFT DIVISION, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. — The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) honored Maj. Eric Northam with the USMC Military Tester of the Year, and Jacob Rohrer with the U.S. Navy Civilian Tester of the Year.
The awards were presented by NDIA Division Chair Joe Manas.
“Presenting the NDIA Tester of the Year awards is one of my favorite parts of the conference,” said Manas. “I am proud to recognize the awardees’ excellence and advancement of NDIA’s mission among great professionals.”
An F-35 Lightning test pilot assigned to the Pax River Integrated Test Force (ITF) at Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23, Northam is the project officer for 11 teams. He completed 103 flight simulator events – and 98 flight events – encompassing 110.5 hours in support of F-35B/C testing. He successfully served as test pilot for 95 joint test plans, and was a key leader of more than 600 personnel.
“It’s an honor to receive this award because it rightfully draws attention to the hard work and dedication of the entire test team,” said Northam. “I was given the privilege to work with these outstanding men and women, and none of this would be possible without the best minds in engineering, test and evaluation and the extraordinary effort of the maintainers and flight support crew.”
Rohrer successfully led a team of 30 flight test engineers to conduct the first-ever transfer of fuel between an E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and tanker aircraft. This was also the first engagement between an E-2 variant and KC-135 aircraft. The effort required over 50 ground and flight tests, 130 flight hours and 61,000 pounds of fuel.
“I feel humbled to be recognized,” said Rohrer. “I am also grateful for the team of exceptionally talented professionals I was privileged to work with.”
Rohrer, the former test team lead for the E-2D aerial refueling program, now oversees air vehicle test and evaluation for the Navy’s MQ-25 program.
The NDIA presents its annual Tester of the Year Awards to civilian, military, and contractor test professionals in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of Test & Evaluation. Nominated by their respective organizations, each Tester of the Year is selected by the Office of the Secretary of Defense or one of the Military Service T&E Departments.