NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md.– As announced during a live Department of Defense event, Dec. 15, the 2020 Defense Acquisition Workforce Award for Individual Achievement in the Test and Evaluation has been awarded to Mr. Eric Fallabel. As part of the CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter program’s test team from 2018 to 2020, Fallabel has guided the test team through testing challenges as they prepare to enter Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) in 2021.
“I am excited and honored to receive this award,” said Fallabel upon his recognition “It’s a big one!”
The Defense Acquisition Workforce Awards recognize excellence by acquisition organizations in developing unique and innovative solutions to ensure that their workforce is well equipped to deliver world-class warfighting capabilities. The award highlights demonstrated, exceptional outside-the-box thinking and progress in tackling workforce development challenges.
In 2018, as the Air Vehicle Test and Evaluation Lead on PMA-261’s test team, the CH-53K program was running behind-schedule and the U.S. Marine Corps urgently needed to finish development on the aircraft in order to field it in time to support planned fleet activities. There was a major restructuring of the test program led by Fallabel where he found a way to accelerate the IOT&E by over three years compared to prior restructuring estimates.
Fallabel’s efforts resulted in a scope reduction of 300 flight hours without sacrificing technical standards. That reduction helped to provide a program cost avoidance of more than $30M. He also enabled the CH-53K Integrated Test Team (ITT) to achieve success during the COVID-19 pandemic and complete the major milestone of critically important shipboard underway testing in June 2020.
“His adherence to T&E best practices and outstanding grasp of complex technical issues has directly led to successful program execution,” the award nomination states. “Mr. Fallabel developed and defended an executable plan, mitigated risks and fully informed Department of the Navy and Department of Defense stakeholders on the revised CH-53K test program to get concurrence and ensure unity of purpose.”
“While the award is given to an individual, I think it reflects great credit on the CH-53K ITT and on the entire program, as it shows the tremendous progress that we’ve made over the past few years,” Fallabel said. “That progress was only possible through the hard work, clever ideas and dedication of the hundreds of engineers and other personnel who support the program.”
Fallabel is currently the Assistant Program Executive Officer for Test and Evaluation for Program Executive Office Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons (PEO(U&W)). He has been with NAVAIR for 11 years; the last two as the test team lead with PMA-261, the heavy lift program office. He was also the recipient of the 2019 Department of the Navy Test and Evaluation Lead Tester Award.