AUSN

SPRING 2018

Navy magazine is distributed on Capitol Hill,the Pentagon and naval bases around the world. It provides information that impacts Sailors, their families and the Navy. Navy is published quarterly by the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN).

Issue link: http://digital.ausn.org/i/976866

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 24 of 43

23 Association of the United States Navy "The Sailors jumped right in, and within an hour they're operating with very little training at all." Mike Grant Sam Rauworth, an engineer at NUWC Division Newport, deploys a commercial REMUS 600 UUV in Narragansett Bay from a Navy research vessel with a Kraken Mine SAS 120 sonar as a payload. REMUS is an example of a prototyping program that made it to the fleet. vary greatly based on their size, technical risk and funding profile. But no matter the prototyping project, the Navy is pushing hard to get them to the fleet faster. With technology advancing as rapidly as it does these days, the Navy recognizes that spending a vast amount of time building prototypes, as had been done in the past, just doesn't work anymore. "ere has been a dramatic effort led by the CNO [Chief of Naval Operations ADM John Richardson] on down to more rapidly prototype things," Grant said. "So the time to build and test prototypes is now always an issue, and we're sort of optimizing for time in some of our programs." Now the Navy is trying to develop prototypes over a period of two years or even quicker, and programs oen are asked to submit proposals on projects on a two-year time horizon and — in some cases — within a year, Grant added. at's not an easy thing to do in a service that constantly grapples with bureaucracy. Grant said that some of the things officials do to cut down on a project's timeline is to streamline the systems engineering process, develop flexible engineering teams, "strive" for consistent funding profiles, improve the efficiency of project management, improve technical oversight and certification, and — especially important — improve contracting. He said they're instituting a new contract method known as a multiple-award contract (MAC) indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ). A MAC-IDIQ essentially sets aside a quantity of money for a large group of contractors over a period of time. e hope is that such contracts will help streamline the procurement process by avoiding the messy public bidding process and have a pre-ap- proved group of contractors who can imme- diately start work. "Basically, if you use them properly, you have a collection of industry partners," Grant said. He said he's seen two particularly big success stories when it comes to proto- typing. e first is the Light Weight Tow (LWT) torpedo defense system, a towed acoustic decoy that took only six months to develop with just $50,000 in internal invest- ment funds. Aer that initial development period, it was turned into a larger prototype system and then put out to sea and tested. e system eventually won a Pentagon-wide defense acquisition challenge competition in fiscal 2011 and 2012, earning it $1.3 million to build an engineering development model. Ultimately, it was chosen to be deployed on the littoral combat ship (LCS) and is now known under the designation AN/SLQ-61. "It's going on LCS right now, and it's also — as I understand it — been chosen to go on FFG(X)," said Grant, referring to the next-generation guided-missile frigate program. Another example of a successful proto- type that Grant pointed to is mission plan- ning and piloting soware referred to as "Topside." It actually was invented by a former graphic designer at NBC News who figured out a way for Sailors to pilot multiple unmanned vehicles in the water in a way that was somewhat similar to how iPads and Android operating systems work, meaning that Sailors could pick it up easily. "e Sailors jumped right in, and within an hour they're operating with very little training at all," Grant said. His program office is currently working on a couple of prototyping efforts. One

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of AUSN - SPRING 2018