Indian Head, Maryland – India’s Chief Division of the Naval Surface Combat Center (NSWC IHD) recently won the Federal Laboratory Consortium’s (FLC) 2022 National Award program, receiving the Outstanding Technology Transfer Award. NSWC IHD is the only Navy command to receive the FLC award this year.
The FLC Awards program annually recognizes federal labs and their industry partners for outstanding advances in technology transfer. The Outstanding Technology Transfer Award is given to employees of FLC member laboratories and non-laboratory staff who have done an outstanding job in the process of transferring technologies developed at the federal level.
NSWC IHD has received an award for its efforts in developing Silent Spring, a technology that reduces sensitivity to improvised explosives (HME). HMEs are extremely sensitive and unpredictable; an accidental spark, a change in temperature, exposure to sunlight or even an accidental shock can cause them.
Silent Spring protects volatile explosives from these potential triggers. This allows Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) fighters and law enforcement officers to move explosives more safely while maintaining forensic expertise and minimizing damage to existing infrastructure.
Silent Spring is a thick semi-liquid substance that is poured on explosives, desensitizing energy components, surrounding them with a rubber material that minimizes the impact of external triggers. The technology got its name from the ability to keep a volatile explosive device “silent,” as well as the fact that the rubber-like material returns to its original appearance after impact.
Technology Transfer (T2) included a number of successful T2 mechanisms facilitated by Dr. Chris Wilhelm, Head of the NSWC IHD Technology Transfer Program. The agreement on joint research and development, the license agreement and the appointment of the Center for Industrial and Technical Excellence – all this helped justify a special public-private partnership agreement (P3) with Gray Ops. The P3 agreement, signed in 2019, established a unique relationship in which NSWC IHD will produce Silent Spring material in bulk to maintain quality control and allow Gray Ops to package and sell the final product.
“Successful [T2] the activity requires a team effort, ”Wilhelm said. “This award could not have happened without the significant contributions of the inventors, Ken Basam and Brian Milani; our client attorney EOD Ken Poe; the CITE team, Scott Wilmat and Scott McKee; and, of course, our Gray Ops commercialization partner. ”
“I would be lying if I said that getting to this point was easy. But with partners like Wilhelm and McKee, we’ve made the impossible possible, ”said Gray Ops CEO Steve Luginbeel. “We cannot say enough about their support not only for us but for all those in the country [T2] community. ”
Silent Spring is now available for commercial sale and approved by the Department of Defense (DoD) to combat the highest priority EOD threats. The partnership has already provided hundreds of product units to DoD EOD end users for demonstration and training, and will soon do the same for civil security and law enforcement.
“This collaboration is one of many we have in command that provide innovative technology for the fighter,” said NSWC IHD Commander Captain Eric Corel. “The sooner we can get new innovative products to our fighters and our Rapid Response Service partners, the better.”
«[T2] is a vital component of our mission, and this award recognizes the command’s efforts to meet our goals, ”said NSWC IHD CTO Ashley Johnson. “The collaboration and partnership between Command and Gray Ops is taking advantage of existing opportunities. The transfer of technology developed by federal agencies can also have a positive impact on broad research, the commercial sector, the economy, consumers and the public. ”
This year’s FLC National Award winners will be recognized at the 2022 FLC National Meeting on April 6 in Cleveland, Ohio.
NSWC IHD – the field activities of the Naval Systems Command and part of the Navy’s scientific and technical institution – is a leader in ammunition, energy and the EOD solutions. The department focuses on research, development, testing, evaluation, maintenance, production and disposal of energy; and provides fighters with solutions for detecting, searching, accessing, identifying, providing security, recovering, using, and eliminating explosive menace threats.