By Sarah MacMillan, Deputy PAO, NAVFAC EXWC Public Affairs
PORT HUENEME, Calif. (NNS) -- NAVFAC EXWC’s Marine Test Bed (MTB) Team has been awarded the 2020 Dr. Delores M. Etter Award for their accomplishments in successfully installing and reaching initial operational capabilities for phase one of their 20-year Department of the Navy (DoN) project.
Designed to increase the fleets’ agility while driving affordability, the MTB is envisioned to be the Department of Defense’s (DoD) leading undersea data and power network environment for evaluating, managing and accelerating the transition of new science and technology from research to operations. 90 personnel—including divers, scientists, contractors, program analysts, technicians, and logisticians—worked closely with MTB Program Manager Joshua Henson to design, develop, integrate, test and install phase one of the MTB.
“The successful establishment of the Maritime Test Bed was very much a team effort,” said Joshua Henson, NAVFAC EXWC Program Manager for the MTB Program. “This is a significant achievement for the Navy that will have a long lasting impact. Although there are several contributing factors, the MTB team of incredibly talented, dedicated, and passionate professionals raised the bar to enable a highly successful development, deployment, and subsequent operation of MTB. The success of this project is a direct reflection of the team’s constant hard work, effectiveness, and technical prowess.”
Phase 1 began with installing an advanced power and data access point in 3,500m depth of water, connecting it to a previous submarine cable. Phase 1 also identified and acquired a 286-foot maritime operations ship to service the undersea data network. The MTB team developed a permanent island test facility; designed and built a new cable storage facility to house spare systems; developed a concept of operations and employment, as well as a master test plan, data collection plan, and user questionnaire to provide users a systematic guidance to utilize the new test and evaluation system.
The system installation consisted of several 24-hour installation events, which included coordinating multiple ship and remotely operated vehicles, and developed and executed the unique installation of the test bed. This effort encompassed both shore-based data processing facility preparation, 400m land and pier conduit installation, and 27 complex dive operations for cable placement and protection.
This project—and the successful completion of phase 1—marks a major milestone for NAVFAC EXWC, their co-collaborators, and the DoN.
“One of our focus areas at NAVFAC EXWC is “increase agility,” said Mr. Kail Macias, NAVFAC EXWC Technical Director. “Our warfighters need agility to make rapid and real-time decisions that either win battles or avoid them altogether. The MTB team demonstrates this through collaboration and establishment of a capability that accelerates the transition of new science and technology to the American warfighters."
The Delores M. Etter Award is presented annually to scientists and engineers who have clearly demonstrated superior accomplishments—both technically outstanding and highly beneficial to the DoN and the DoD. The selection process for the Delores M. Etter Award is highly competitive, with each submission aggressively demonstrating advanced scientific and engineering achievement.
Looking onward, this highly visible DoN project continues to offer promising new capabilities for faster and more comprehensive testing and evaluation.