The Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Innovation Awards recognized three Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) teams of researchers as top innovators within the Department of the Navy (DON) during a ceremony at the Pentagon, Sept. 4, 2018. The ceremony was officiated by the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development, and Acquisition), the Honorable James "Hondo" Guerts.
In a statement released by the SECNAV’s office, “These accomplishments are remarkable and serve as inspiration for the entire workforce to think boldly and solve the Nation’s most challenging problems.”
SSC Pacific’s Augmented Reality System for Topside Gun Crew Command and Control project, or "GunnAR," was recognized in the Technology Development category, which highlights DON achievements in the creation of new or improved hardware, software, or tool(s) that improve the effectiveness or overall mission readiness of the organization.
Heidi Buck, director of the Battlespace Exploitation of Mixed Reality (BEMR) Lab, explained the lab’s gaming developing expertise was a major factor in making Lt. Robert McClenning’s (ONR 2016 Innovation Jam winner) Unified Gunnery System concept a reality. GunnAR is an augmented reality (AR) helmet that would fuse information from a ship’s gunnery liaison officer and weapon system into an easy-to-interpret visual format for the gunner manning a naval gun system.
“As a rapid prototyping lab, we were able to very quickly modify a commercial DAQRI headset software and build out the first iteration of the heads-up display (HUD),” Buck explained. “We took McLenning’s artistic concept of what the HUD should look like and built that out using our gaming development environment. It wasn't long after that we were able to participate in a pier-side demonstration, later followed by two live fire demonstrations.
“It's the hard work, fast turnaround, and outside the box innovative thinking of this wonderful team that makes these projects and ideas come to life so quickly,” she said.
Members of the DON workforce implementing new approaches to processes or procedures for Objective-Based Mission Planning for the MK 18 Unmanned Underwater Vehicle were recognized for their use of automation or artificial intelligence that significantly advanced mission accomplishment In the Automated Process Development category.
Also recognized with an Honorable Mention in the Innovation Leadership Category was Dr. Kristin L. Holzworth, project technical director for Additive Manufacturing Repairs for the M1A1 Main Battle Tank.
SSC Pacific developed the Expeditionary Manufacturing (EXMAN) self-contained unit, a prototype mobile facility project, which offers 3-D additive manufacturing printing capabilities for the warfighter in theater. EXMAN was developed for the Marine Corps and can quickly produce low weight, low cost replacements for critically needed parts or materials.
“EXMAN provides capability at the point of need in order to enable readiness, increase lethality, and extend reach of the operational forces of the United States Marine Corps,” Holzworth said.
A landmark naval research facility in San Diego for more than 75 years, SSC Pacific is comprised of over 4,700 scientists, researchers, and engineers, and is a member of an exclusive team of research labs that make up the Department of Defense’s biggest brain trust.
SSC Pacific's mission: To conduct research, development, engineering, and support of integrated command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cyber, and space systems across all warfighting domains, and to rapidly prototype, conduct test and evaluation, and provide acquisition, installation, and in-service engineering support.