NEWPORT, R.I. – Three Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport technologists shared information on undersea warfare-inspired inventions during the Technology Commercialization, Research and Development Showcase held Dec. 6 at the University of Rhode Island (URI).
A number of dignitaries — including U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse (both D-RI) and URI President Marc Parlange — and members of the 401 Tech Bridge, URI, industry and R.I. Commerce community received presentations about exciting new technologies that have a broad range of potential commercial applications.
“We are poised for success because of this collaboration. Collaboration, the exchange of ideas, is what is going to move us forward and we have to do it faster,” Reed said. “NUWC, as we all recognize, is the national leader in developing underwater systems. Submarines provide that cautionary note to our adversaries wondering what they’re doing and where they are.
“China is the pacing threat and when you turn to the Pacific, there’s a lot of water out there. We have to develop very, very quickly because we’re up against a very sophisticated, agile competitor.”
Dr. Tariq Manzur of Division Newport’s Undersea Warfare (USW) Electromagnetic Department, Paul Cavallaro of the Ranges, Engineering and Analysis Department, and Bill Craig, technical project manager for advanced technology in the USW Electromagnetic Department — filling in on behalf of inventor Dr. David Tonn — first gave an overall presentation on these new technologies and later provided opportunities for one-on-one discussions with attendees during a poster session.
Manzur’s presentation focused on photonics and laser technology, Cavallaro discussed advances in the field of composites and fabrics, and Craig briefed on breakthroughs with antennas. The event also included tours of URI’s cutting-edge Research CORE Facilities and Dynamic Photo-Mechanics Laboratory in Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering located on the Kingston campus.
“I’m very proud of NUWC; it’s a great organization,” Reed said. “It’s an engine for our efforts to accelerate sophisticated new technologies and get them into the fleet.”
Mary Sylvia, head of the Technology Partnerships Office, and Jim Kasischke, supervisory patent counsel, Office of Legal Counsel, also discussed the technology transfer process with an emphasis on the merits of patent licensing, while Chief Technology Officer Jason Gomez gave an overview of the entire program.
Gomez noted that a recent government study revealed Division Newport has generated almost 800 patents in the past 30 years. This represents 10% of the total number of patents awarded to the Department of the Navy (DON) over that period of time despite Division representing less than 2% of the total civilian Navy’s workforce.
“NUWC’s been there for a long, long time. We have a great relationship with URI and a growing relationship with the Tech Bridge,” Gomez said. “Throughout its 152-year history, NUWC has put a lot of emphasis on capturing intellectual property and we’re really trying to grow an innovative culture at NUWC.
“While we need to protect our intellectual property, we also recognize the advantage of sharing it with the communities we work with to increase the speed of development for both fleet capability and commercialization.”
Specifically, Manzur’s inventions focus on photonics technology of an optical amplifier, light detection and ranging (LiDAR), free space multi-frequency stealth laser communications and innovative optical amplifier pumping schemes. Manzur offered a handful of potential commercial applications for this technology, including auto-driving, commercial ship navigation and satellite communications or tracking.
Cavallaro, meanwhile, presented two technologies: Inflatable structures and experimental test fixtures, as well as crimp imbalanced fabrics for improved fragment and projectile impact protection.
The inflatable project, Cavallaro explained, was a spinoff of another project where the Department of Defense (DOD) needed to repatriate the remains of soldiers killed in action by chemical or biological means.
“These aren’t pool toys or the waving inflatable arm guys that we’re talking about here. Imagine something you could take out of your pocket and it inflates to 100 times its original size,” Cavallaro said. “With inflatable structures constructed from high-performance fibers, you get out of it what you put into it. What you put into it is the inflation pressure, which can be air, water or gas. The more you put in, the more pressure you generate and the higher the load-carrying capacity. You also get the unique benefit of elastic fail-safe recovery modes of operation during an overloading event.”
This technology has a number of applications, such as inflatable launch and recovery systems for underwater towed bodies, inflatable fendering systems for marine vessels or hazardous materials, or bulk material transfer packages for use in severe environments.
“Ultimately, we’re taking it into the next level as composites and inflatables dovetail right into soft robotics for undersea launch and recovery,” Cavallaro said. “The State of Rhode Island is geared heavily in the textiles market. We believe there’s a lot of transition opportunities.”
The crimp imbalance fabric is one of those opportunities. A simple architectural modification during the weaving process yields a fabric that can enhance the dynamic impact protection levels in soft body armors. This process provides not only more protection to warfighters and law enforcement officers, but more comfort and mobility at a lighter weight.
Craig, presenting some of Tonn’s inventions, closed the Division Newport technology discussions with a talk on a patch antenna retrofit kit and broadband linear antennas.
“Dave [Tonn] is really an exceptional engineer and inventor. He and I have worked together for almost 30 years,” Craig said. “We got into a routine where he’d come up with an idea and say, ‘What if we did this? What could we do with that effect?’ Then we’d go from there.”
Craig explained how the retrofit kit is not only cost-effective and easy to install on existing antennas, but also improves capability as it can significantly increase bandwidth depending on the specifics of the antenna.
The broadband linear antenna, meanwhile, improves the bandwidth of linearly polarized antennas such as monopoles and slotted antennas to the point that they can support several communications functions in a single antenna. The potential commercial applications of these technologies are wide-reaching given the reliance on antennas in so many fields.
Companies interested in working with Division Newport or that would like to understand more about the process can reach out to the Technology Partnership Office at [email protected].
About the technologists
Dr. Tariq Manzur
Dr. Tariq Manzur is the directed energy lead scientist and engineer for submarine high-energy laser (HEL) system development and integration, as well as a subject matter expert for imaging and electronic warfare. Under his leadership, he has built a strong technical team to perform a directed energy feasibility study for manned and unmanned undersea platforms. He also is the technical point of contact for more than 24 projects for the Navy’s Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) program.
Manzur has more than 20 years of experience in research, product development and technology transfer in a number of areas, including directed energy, electro-optics, crystal lasers, fiber lasers, nanosecond fiber lasers, Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifiers (EDFAs), opto-electronics and electronic warfare. He is a Fellow of three international organizations: the Institute of Physics; the Society of Photo Optical Instrumentation Engineers; and the American Physical Society.
Manzur holds a master’s in physics and metallurgy and doctorate from the Institute of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Connecticut (UConn). He has 11 patents with four more currently pending. Manzur also has published more than 55 journal articles, hundreds of conference papers and two book chapters.
Paul Cavallaro leads the Undersea Modeling Branch’s Mechanics of Advanced Structures and Materials team. He has more 35 years of DOD experience in composite materials, sandwich structures and technical textiles. His current research area is in multi-scale modeling of advanced materials and predictive performance tools for novel structures.
His focus areas include lightweight structures, composite pre-forms, damage and fracture, deployable and inflatable structures, ballistic protection, cold spray additive manufacturing of metals, and inflatable launch and recovery systems for USW towed bodies and vehicles. He has established 13 active research collaborations across DOD, NASA, industry and academia.
Cavallaro earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Northeastern University, and previously led the former Structural Mechanics Group of the U.S. Army Research Lab’s Materials Directorate in Watertown, Massachusetts. He has authored technical reports, journal publications and several book chapters. He holds 18 issued and five pending patents related to composites and textiles, inflatable structures and experimental test equipment.
Bill Craig is the technical project manager for advanced technology for the Undersea Warfare Electromagnetic Systems Department. He has been at Division Newport for more than 31 years, and has been actively involved with the development of advanced technologies to improve submarine communications for most of his career. He has led several efforts addressing submarine communications at speed and depth, including investigations into advanced buoyant cable antenna technology, expendable buoys and optical communications, as well as technologies supporting connectivity with unmanned undersea vehicles and undersea nodes.
He also oversees the development and execution of all internal investment efforts in the Undersea Warfare Electromagnetic Systems Department. Craig holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Union College and a Master of Science in electrical engineering from Northeastern University.
Dr. David Tonn
Dr. David Tonn is a senior engineer with the Communications Antennas Branch. He holds a doctorate in electrical engineering with an area of concentration in electromagnetics and physical electronics from the UConn. His dissertation topic was in application of metamaterials for maritime antennas.
His research interests include low-frequency, buoyant-cable and microstrip antennas; application of metamaterials to antenna design; low frequency radio wave propagation; optimization methods in electromagnetics; and antenna measurement methods. In 2013, he received the IEEE Harry Diamond Memorial Award, given for his contributions to the field of submarine antenna technology.
He also won the 2018 Admiral Bowen Award for Patented Inventions, and most recently was awarded the 2021 Delores M. Etter Award for outstanding contributions by an individual scientist.
Dr. Tonn is an adjunct lecturer in electrical engineering at UConn, where he has taught classes ranging from undergraduate courses in circuit analysis to graduate level classes in advanced electromagnetics and antenna theory. Twice he has been recognized with excellence in teaching awards. He also is a senior member of the Antenna Measurement Techniques Association, and holds nearly 30 patents for antennas and related inventions, with several others still pending.
NUWC Division Newport is a shore command of the U.S. Navy within the Naval Sea Systems Command, which engineers, builds and supports America’s fleet of ships and combat systems. NUWC Newport provides research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, undersea offensive and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures associated with undersea warfare.
NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher’s Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.
Join our team! NUWC Division Newport, one of the 20 largest employers in Rhode Island, employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, and other STEM professionals, as well as talented business, finance, logistics and other support experts who wish to be at the forefront of undersea research and development. Please connect with NUWC Division Newport Recruiting at this site- https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/Warfare-Centers/NUWC-Newport/Career-Opportunities/ and follow us on LinkedIn @NUWC-Newport and on Facebook @NUWCNewport.