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October 2011 Issue

US Navy to Offer Energy Master's Degree Program
The Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) will offer a dedicated energy master's degree program starting this fall, Secretary of the U.S. Navy Ray Mabus announced in August.

The NPS will be the first military education institution to offer such a program. As part of the Navy's push on energy issues, the NPS will also launch the Secretary of the Navy Executive Energy Series, two-week programs attended by senior civilians and designed to tackle specific energy challenges. This series will start at the beginning of next year.

"Through the master's program and the executive energy series, NPS will ensure that energy is fully integrated," Mabus said. "As a result, NPS students will guide the Navy and the nation toward a better, more secure energy future."

Northrop Worker Gets Three Years in Jail for Falsifying Vessels' Weld Inspections
A former nondestructive testing inspector for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Newport News, (now owned by Huntington Ingalls Industries) was sentenced in August to 37 months in prison for falsely certifying he had inspected the hulls of Navy ships and submarines. Subsequent inspections found certain welds to be defective.

Robert Raymond Ruks, who had pleaded guilty in May, had faced a maximum of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and full restitution for each offense. Ruks' jail time will be followed by three years of supervised release.

In 2009 Ruks said to supervisors that he had falsely certified the inspection of three lift pad welds on a Navy submarine. However, he lied to Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents regarding the number of other hulls that he hadn't inspected, according to his plea agreement. Northrop Grumman reinspected all 9,506 welds certified by Ruks and found 16 of them to be defective. Five of the defects were critical SUBSAFE submarine welds, the company said. The reinspection cost $654,000 over 18,906 man-hours.

ONR Funds Nanoscale Anticorrosion Research
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced in August that it awarded a Defense University Research Instrumentation Program grant to develop hydrodynamically efficient and nontoxic anticorrosion materials for the U.S. Navy.

The grant, awarded to Chang-Hwan Choi, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, funds an environmental scanning electron microscope that will enhance Choi's study of the functionalities of novel prototypes of nanostructured materials. ONR said anticorrosion measures cost the Navy approximately $10 billion to $12 billion annually.

Raytheon Minehunting Sonar Deployed on Navy's Remote Multi-Mission Vehicle
The U.S. Navy has successfully launched and recovered the Remote Multi-Mission Vehicle (RMMV) carrying Raytheon's (Waltham, Massachusetts) AN/AQS-20A minehunting sonar, the company announced in August. This was the first time the RMMV was deployed from the USS Independence (LCS 2) while underway.

While being towed underwater, the system uses sonar and electro-optical sensors to provide high-resolution images of mines and mine-like objects as well as high-precision location information. The system is designed to detect, localize and identify bottom, close-tethered and volume mines in both deep-ocean and littoral waters.

ONR Tests Material That Increases Explosive Force
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) announced in August that it has developed and began testing a material designed to replace steel in warhead casings, which the ONR said will bring added lethality and increase the likelihood of a hit on an enemy target.

By combining several metals with standard manufacturing techniques, researchers have produced a high-density reactive material with the strength of common aluminum alloys yet the density of mild steel, making it an ideal replacement for steel components. This is important because in order for existing weapon systems to maintain probability of a hit, they must have a density similar to that of steel.

"Recent testing and demonstrations have consistently shown that the new casings can be integrated into naval missiles and are durable enough to withstand both high acceleration of missile launch and the forces exposed to during the detonation event," said Clifford Bedford, ONR energy conversion program officer.

The ONR fired test shots using the material in June at the Blossom Point Field Test Facility. The ONR has planned more test shots in mid-August and a large-scale demonstration on multiple stationary targets in September.


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