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CHIPS Articles: NUWC Keyport Opens New Home for Unmanned Undersea Vehicles

NUWC Keyport Opens New Home for Unmanned Undersea Vehicles
By J Overton, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport Public Affairs - January 31, 2017
Keyport, Wash. - On January 18, 2017, Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), Division, Keyport held a ribbon cutting for their new Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) homeport maintenance and storage space, Barb Hall, located within NUWC Keyport's Vehicle Integration Prototyping Experimentation and Reconfiguration facility.

UUVs are becoming increasingly critical to the way the U.S. Navy maintains dominance in the undersea domain, and Barb Hall is a space where technical capabilities and expertise, private industry and academic research, and Sailors can work together on these evolutionary platforms.

"With the opening of Barb Hall we are able to integrate, prepare, test, and reconfigure [UUVs], with the developers and operators working hand in hand—both physically and virtually. We are supporting efforts to leverage commercial technologies, rapidly integrate payloads, and assist in the development of tactics, techniques, and procedures," said Troy Kelley, department head for NUWC Keyport's Test and Evaluation Department.

Representatives from many of the organizations critical to the future of UUVs—warfare centers, academia, industry, and warfighters—gathered at NUWC Keyport for the event. Rear Adm. Frederick J. "Fritz" Roegge, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, was the keynote speaker.

Other speakers included Congressman Derek Kilmer, who wielded the ribbon-cutting scissors, Capt. Doug LaCoste, NUWC Keyport commanding officer, Capt. Rob Gaucher, commander Submarine Development Squadron Five, and NUWC Newport's Dr. Brian McKeon, who gave his perspective on Barb Hall's contribution and potential for the undersea warfare community.

According to Gaucher, whose remarks provided the tactical warfighter perspective on UUVs, "Any discussion of submarine warfighting needs to begin with the esteemed legacy of our World War II veterans, such as those on USS Barb, who carried the fight to our enemies in the Western Pacific."

Barb Hall is named for the World War II-era submarine USS Barb, one of the most distinguished ships in naval history. The name was proposed by LaCoste and Gaucher. It recognizes the UUV connection to the submarine force, and showcases the innovative nature of Barb's accomplishments using new technologies like improved torpedoes, radar, sonar, and rockets, and the daring and dedication of her crew.

Eric Gattenby, NUWC Keyport's deputy division head for the Undersea and Combat Systems Depot, made a recreation of USS Barb's battle flag to grace both the ribbon-cutting ceremony and the Hall's entrance.

Gattenby is a retired Navy senior chief who served on six different submarines during his career. He, and his wife Stephanie, used an embroidery and sewing machine, with some graphics software installed, to make the flag. The original hangs in the "Medal of Honor" section of the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, Connecticut.

"I look forward to the future and seeing Barb Hall bustling with activity," said McKeon, "a building where collaboration, technology, and prototyping come together to deliver UUV warfighting capability to the fleet."

"Here, and in Keyport's entire complex of undersea support," said LaCoste, "we'll help explore and improve the vast capabilities and missions of UUVs. We'll work with their end-users to see how they could be used, and how they could be made better, and we'll work to develop and provide those capabilities. Our workforce and warfighters of the 1940s would be amazed at the technology on display here today. But I believe they would easily understand the basics of what we do, and why we do it."

NUWC Keyport has provided technical capabilities that support America's undersea dominance for more than a century. NUWC Keyport is headquartered in Washington State, and has facilities and operations in California, Guam, Hawaii, British Columbia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, and personnel working in several other states and countries.

For more news from NAVSEA, go to www.navsea.navy.mil.

Left to right: ETV1 Clayton Vann, Detachment UUV Sailor of the Year; NUWC Keyport Technical Director Alan Kent; NUWC Keyport Commanding Officer Capt. Doug LaCoste; Congressman Derek Kilmer, Commander Submarine Forces Pacific Fleet Rear Adm. Fritz Roegge; Commodore Rob Gaucher; Commander Submarine Development Squadron Five; Commander Scott Smith, Officer in Charge, Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Detachment; and YN2 Richard Betz, Detachment UUV Junior Sailor of the Year.  Photo by Bre Zinter
Left to right: ETV1 Clayton Vann, Detachment UUV Sailor of the Year; NUWC Keyport Technical Director Alan Kent; NUWC Keyport Commanding Officer Capt. Doug LaCoste; Congressman Derek Kilmer, Commander Submarine Forces Pacific Fleet Rear Adm. Fritz Roegge; Commodore Rob Gaucher; Commander Submarine Development Squadron Five; Commander Scott Smith, Officer in Charge, Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Detachment; and YN2 Richard Betz, Detachment UUV Junior Sailor of the Year. Photo by Bre Zinter

Eric Gattenby (right), NUWC Keyport's Deputy Division Head of the Undersea and Combat Systems Depot and crafter of the USS Barb battle flag recreation, looks on as Keyport employee Nick Plum admires the flag's intricate needlework and historical accuracy. Photo by Bre Zinter
Eric Gattenby (right), NUWC Keyport's Deputy Division Head of the Undersea and Combat Systems Depot and crafter of the USS Barb battle flag recreation, looks on as Keyport employee Nick Plum admires the flag's intricate needlework and historical accuracy. Photo by Bre Zinter
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