Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Commander Rear Adm. Mark Darrah, and Deputy Assistant Commander for Research and Engineering Tony Cifone visited NAWCWD Point Mugu and China Lake, Calif., July 8-11.
“I have been impressed by the energy the people had in spite of the furloughs; in fact, not one person has mentioned furloughs during my visit,” Darrah said. “I saw people with bright eyes and excited about what they’re doing and what is being accomplished at WD.”
During the visit, Darrah met with NAWCWD leadership and discussed mission capabilities and future integrated operations between AD and WD.
“It is good to see Darrah and Cifone at Weapons Division and it gives them the chance to understand what our systems are and how we operate within our warfare center,” said Ken Morton, director of the NAWCWD Irregular Warfare Technology Office. “I am pleased to take the time to demonstrate our capabilities.”
While at Point Mugu, Darrah and Cifone visited the NAWCWD Electronic Warfare Department and saw firsthand the capabilities there. The tour consisted of the Electronic Combat Simulation and Evaluation Laboratory, the EA-6/EA-18 Weapon System Support Lab, the High-Power Electronic Attack Technique Radiation Lab, and the Joint Strike Fighter Joint Reprogramming Enterprise.
The tour then proceeded to the Range Operations Center, Sea Range Facility and Targets Department Facility.
“I came to Weapons Division to ensure that everyone understands the new priorities that Admiral Dunaway has given us,” said Darrah. “We have really got to start focusing on being more integrated across the warfare centers.”
In addition to Point Mugu, the admiral visited multiple labs, departments and divisions at China Lake.
“During his visit with the Synthesis and Formulation Branch, we discussed the branch’s basic and applied research to create new propellants and explosives, including insensitive munitions research to provide safer munitions to the fleet,” said Dr. Mark Mason, head of the Synthesis and Formulation Branch.
The admiral was given detailed tours of the Applied Manufacturing Division, Weapons Survivability Lab, China Lake Propulsion Lab, Chemistry Division, Integrated Battlespace Arena, Weapons and Energetics Department, Unmanned Systems, and Miniature Munitions Lab.
“I am very encouraged by the fact that we’re doing incredible far ahead thinking, thinking about the future and using what we have today more efficiently,” Darrah said. “I believe it’s because of the youth we have here in the labs. When I was in the Miniature Munitions Lab yesterday, I thought I was in a classroom, and it was awesome to see that atmosphere.”
The Miniature Munitions Lab develops low cost, low collateral damage, small form factor smart weapons and unmanned aerial vehicle payloads.
“It was a neat experience to be able to talk with the admiral and hear his ideas and understand his point of view on what AD and WD can do to improve our integrated capabilities,” said Keegan Ryan, a mechanical engineer at Weapons Division.
NAWCWD senior leadership gave the admiral briefs on integrated warfighting capabilities, high density bio fuels, fleet support and rapid response, and many more of the Weapons Division capabilities.
The admiral’s final remarks summed up how impressed he was by the workforce and its willingness to get the job done. He said he was excited to see what the young engineers and scientists in the labs come up with next.
“It was a great experience helping the admiral understand what we do here and to introduce him to more of our capabilities,” Ryan said. “I hope to see him here again in the future.”