The Stiletto Maritime Demonstration Program conducted its first Capability Demonstration, Jan. 14-27. The initial demonstration was hosted for the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) off the Virginia coast near the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Va.
The Capability Demonstration provided NECC Sailors an opportunity to observe new technologies developed by industry in a realistic military maritime environment. The program also provided the 15 participating industry partners an opportunity to receive immediate end-user feedback toward increasing technology readiness levels.
“Warfighting needs are rapidly changing, and our interest is in looking at mature technologies and future capabilities that could be transitioned to fill an operational need sooner than later,” said Dale Shiflett, NECC’s Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Strategy and Technology. “Using the Stiletto Maritime Demonstration Program allowed us to look at the realm of possibilities for new and improved technologies. What better way to do that, than to have both the warfighter and the system developers in the same environment using the systems and having discussions on how it could work better.”
The Stiletto Maritime Demonstration Program is funded by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering's Rapid Reaction Technology Office, Emerging Capabilities Division to help accelerate the delivery of innovative maritime technologies across all of the armed services.
"The program is open to other DoD commands, government agencies, industry, or academic institutions that have a need to observe or demonstrate their technologies underway in as relevant an environment as possible," said Glenn Fogg, Rapid Reaction Technology Office Director in the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Rapid Fielding.
Engineers and technicians with specialized expertise in maritime technology from Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division’s (NSWCCD) Norfolk Detachment maintain and operate the program.
“This program uses the Stiletto vessel as a technology demonstration tool for the Department of Defense to observe emerging capabilities in a relevant environment. In addition to the Stiletto vessel, we also have an 11-meter RHIB and other Carderock-owned assets, such as jet skis, that can be used as needed depending on the requirements of the demonstration,” said Rob Tutton, NSWCCD engineer and Stiletto Maritime Demonstration Program Manager.
“For this demonstration, the NECC was assessing solid-state radar systems; infrared, 360-degree awareness sensors; full-motion video systems; and C4I command and control displays, so while our smaller craft simulated small boat treats, NECC Sailors tracked items of interest from the Stiletto’s Command Information Center, or CIC,” continued Tutton. “Stiletto’s CIC has six shock-mitigating seats, each outfitted with system controls and two flat screen monitors. Because these stations are easily reconfigurable, each day a new set of integrated sensors was installed and observed.”
Prior to the demonstration, CRADAs were put into place for each of the technologies because they were being evaluated outside of the traditional acquisition process. A CRADA, or Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, is an official agreement between a government and a private company to work together on research and development.
“This demonstration gave us an opportunity to express our capability desires, and have vendors try and meet that call. Our assessments, along with relevant data, will be provided to the Naval Research Enterprise and the acquisition community for further consideration. We can then say to them, 'Here is the current state of the art, and we've demonstrated it in a quasi-operational environment. Now, how can you help us deliver this to the warfighter,’” said Dr. Marty Irvine, Office of Naval Research Science Advisor to NECC.
“The first week of NECC demonstration events was very structured. Industry representatives worked at the side of the Sailors to familiarize them with the systems while Carderock engineers directed the missions. NECC coordinated with independent evaluators from Operational Test and Evaluation Force to observe the event and record operator feedback. During the second week, the systems were tested in a more operational-like environment where Sailors used the technology on their own,” said Tutton. “When you have everyone working together in a relevant environment, that’s when ideas start to flow and the real magic begins to happen.”
“We’re hosting our second Capability Demonstration in April. This event is being held for the United Kingdom Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, and the Request for Information with more details is available on the fedbizopps.gov website,” said Tutton.
For more information on participating in a demonstration, contact Stiletto@navy.mil.