FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 10, 2021
Release #2201 Point of Contact—Jeffrey Prater (401) 832-2039
Senators Reed, Tester and Secretary of the Navy Del Toro tour NUWC Division Newport laboratories
The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport welcomed Sens. Jack Reed, D-RI, and Jon Tester, D-MT, along with Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro for a tour of the warfare center’s laboratories on Jan. 8.
“It was great to have Senator Tester and Secretary Del Toro in Rhode Island for a firsthand look at emerging undersea technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities,” Reed said. “Rhode Island makes a vital contribution to our national defense and I’m proud of our talented workers.”
Reed is the chair of the Armed Services Committee and a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Tester is the chair of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. Division Newport leadership, Commanding Officer Capt. Chad Hennings and Technical Director Ron Vien, guided the senators and Del Toro throughout the tour.
Stops included the Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) Laboratory, Submarine Combat Control Systems Laboratory, Weapons Analysis Facility, Virginia Payload Tube (VPT) Facility and Launcher Laboratory.
“It was an honor to tour the Naval Undersea Warfare Center alongside Chairman Reed and Secretary Del Toro to learn more about how we can best support the needs of our Navy,” Tester said. “These cutting-edge undersea defense capabilities play an integral role in keeping our nation safe.”
Hennings and Vien opened the tour by describing how Division Newport is a full-spectrum research, development, test and evaluation, engineering, and fleet support center for submarine warfare systems and many other systems associated with the undersea battlespace.
Chris DelMastro, head of the Undersea Warfare Platforms and Payload Integration Department, followed with a description of some of the UUV projects underway, including the Snakehead Phase 1 Large Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (LDUUV). Other medium-sized and long-duration UUV technology efforts also were discussed.
“We leveraged the best of academia and industry, along with the government’s brightest minds to advance the start of the art in UUVs,” DelMastro said. “The Navy has made a lot of investments over the years and we are the stewards of those investments to transition capabilities to the fleet.”
Snakehead Phase 1 is a modular reconfigurable, multi-mission UUV deployed from submarine large ocean interfaces, with a government-owned architecture, mission autonomy and vehicle software.
Snakehead Phase 1 provides guidance and control, navigation, situational awareness, propulsion, maneuvering and sensors in support of the Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment (IPOE) mission.
Chief Technology Officer Jason Gomez followed with an explanation of some of the community engagement done at Division Newport, which increases both the size and technical knowledge of its workforce.
“One of the responsibilities of the chief technology officer is really to promote the health and well-being of our science and technology (S&T) community,” Gomez said. “We do that in a number of ways, including building a pipeline of the workforce, as well as expanding our research base into the universities.”
Each year, the Educational Outreach Program energizes more than 100 Division Newport scientists and engineers to go out into schools and interact with more than 5,000 students. These interactions can be more informal like judging science fairs, or formal opportunities through internships like the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP), Naval Engineering Education Consortium (NEEC) and Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) program.
Division Newport is extensively working with universities throughout the country. This is done through the warfare center’s University Lecture Series, as well various partnership agreements.
Gomez also highlighted three congressionally sponsored university collaborations that began in the past five years that have helped strengthen this bond.
The largest of the three, the National Institute for Undersea Vehicle Technology (NIUVT), works with partners from the University of Rhode Island, University of Connecticut and Electric Boat to address problems in a variety of technical areas. Similar operations are ongoing with the Mechanics of Undersea Science and Engineering (MUSE) and Marine and UnderSea Technology (MUST) collaboratives that operate with Brown University and the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, respectively.
Denise Brown, head of the Undersea Warfare Mission Engineering and Analysis Department, was up next with a presentation on war-gaming, technical workshops, modeling and simulation.
“We support all the major submarine programs, and for more than 40 years have continuously developed models in this area,” Brown said. “We’re looking at all the different aspects of a submarine that go into simulations to develop our metrics.”
This, coupled with test and evaluation phases, are critical components in ensuring the fleet has the platforms it needs and that they operate every time as they are intended.
“It’s really important to get this right and take the time to validate these things,” Del Toro said. “This is how we catch problems before they become a gargantuan expense.”
The group also had the opportunity to see where some of this testing is done. In the Advanced Submarine Launcher and VPT facilities, to-scale submarine land-based testing facilities allow Division Newport engineers and scientists to evaluate the performance of existing and developmental weapons systems on-site.
The senators and Del Toro also saw the Submarine Combat Control Systems Laboratory. Here, Rebecca Chhim, head of the Combat Control Systems Department, detailed how Division Newport provides full-spectrum, tactical support to the submarine fleet. This includes cybersecurity that extends beyond compliance and diagnoses problems from an engineering perspective.
“The transformation that has taken place over time of how we communicate throughout the fleet and battle group is truly amazing,” Del Toro said.
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- https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/Warfare-Centers/NUWC-Newport/Career-Opportunities/ and follow us on LinkedIn @NUWC-Newport and on Facebook @NUWCNewport.
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (from left), chair of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, Sen. Jack Reed, chair of the Armed Services Committee, and Kate Käufer, acting staff director, Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, listen as Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro discusses a project during a tour of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport laboratories on Jan. 8, 2022. (U.S. Navy photo by Rich Allen)
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (from left), chair of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, Kate Käufer, acting staff director of the subcommittee, Division Newport Commanding Officer Chad Hennings, and Technical Director Ron Vien, listen as Chris DelMastro, head of the Undersea Warfare Platforms and Payload Integration Department, describes of some of the unmanned undersea vehicle projects underway at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport. The subcommittee members toured Division Newport with Sen. Jack Reed, chair of the Armed Services Committee and Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro on Jan. 8, 2022. (U.S. Navy photo by Rich Allen)