In 2004, engineers from Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) Thomas Emmerich and Mark Monaco designed a prototype workstation color printer for the Tomahawk Tactical Weapons Control System (TTWCS) after the program office requested a more affordable printer than the $ 20,000 one. offered by an entrepreneur.
The design of the pair would produce a printer costing just $ 2,500, and Emmerich and Monaco assumed the program office would forward their design to a contracted company. Instead, the program office asked the two to become the exclusive design agent for the printer and all of its future iterations.
This printer design ultimately became the first in a series of in-house design and manufacturing projects that the TTWCS Hardware Design Team is now leading at NSWC PHD.
“The hardware engineering team has more and more increasingly important hardware design projects from the program office due to its constant success,” said Vagarshak Ovakyan, director of the engineering branch of the program. hardware at NSWC PHD.
One of these projects recently earned the group the prestigious 2019 Excellence in Systems Engineering Award from Lieutenant General Thomas R. Ferguson, Jr. of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA).
Emmerich and Monaco spent 20 years supporting Tomahawk hardware in the fleet as in-service engineering agents, but aspired to do more design.
“We’ve always had ideas for things designers could have done differently to make hardware more affordable and easier to maintain, but our contributions were always too late in the process,” said Emmerich.
When asked in 2004 for their opinion on a way to make a workstation color printer less expensive, they jumped at the chance. Emmerich and Monaco were elated when after submitting their design for the lower cost printer, they were asked to take over the production of the printer from manufacturing to deployment.
“We were very surprised, but excited for the opportunity,” said Emmerich. “We have built over 100 units, most of which are still installed on ships. After production of the then current version of TTWCS was completed, the program office decided to cede Design Agent status to NSWC PHD, not only for legacy hardware, but for future hardware.
That was just over 12 years ago, and their small team has grown considerably since becoming the official hardware design agent for TTWCS. In fact, a brand new branch has been created to accommodate the production aspect.
Production was part of hardware engineering until it became its own branch about five years ago.
“Initially, we only needed to design small retrofit kits, but that quickly turned into major updates and the production of new suites for the DDG 51 class,” Emmerich explained.
Including the printer, the team has designed and produced three projects, and are currently on their fourth, another upgrade to the hardware version, which is expected to be released to the fleet in 2023.
“Directing material engineering with Tom and Mark has enabled Command to take over major design projects, where government engineers select every nut, screw, sheet metal and standard commercial material to meet the needs, requirements and specifications. of the client on major systems, ”Ovakyan said.
The team’s third systems upgrade – TTWCS (V) 3 – has achieved national recognition from NDIA.
The NDIA created the Systems Engineering Excellence Award in 2003 to honor the memory of Lieutenant General Thomas R. Ferguson of the U.S. Air Force for his leadership believed to embody the highest ideals in the development and deployment of systems for defense.
The award is presented to a team whose contributions to systems engineering “have clearly contributed to significant cost savings through new or improved processes, procedures and / or concepts, increased mission capabilities and significantly improved performance. increased ”, according to the description.
NSWC PHD assembled an interdisciplinary engineering team in 2010 to design the next generation of IT infrastructure for TTWCS, maturing it from development to production and eventually deployment.
The team succeeded in reducing the footprint of three electronics racks into a two-rack system, with room for expansion, and introduced maintainability improvements in four associated computer consoles. The team also reduced the total number of parts by 33%, resulting in significant cost savings.
Production started in 2018; The USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) in the second quarter of 2019 was the first ship to deploy with the new hardware.
According to the command’s appointment, the team’s diverse technical skills and keen sense of engineering were key to its successful design. Membership included members of the design, integrated logistics and production teams, such as Emmerich, Tomahawk Hardware Product Manager; Monaco, Tomahawk material design agent; engineers Christina Zamboni and Vay Vong; Andrew Goodwin, Tomahawk Installation Manager; Rey Jordan, mechanical engineer; and Ron Fong, technical project manager.
All members brought their experience from their different backgrounds. Additionally, former sailors who worked as Tomahawk maintainers and operators provided feedback directly to the development team, resulting in a more customer-centric design.
The government-owned engineering and design dataset allows the TTWCS team to update or change the design without delay. As a recent example, the NSWC PHD team was able to design, prototype, and deliver engineering development units of an obsolete component in two months and install it in three months.
According to Ovakyan, the team of Tomahawk hardware design officers in command are currently working on the next generation of TTWCS, which will support the Maritime Strike Tomahawk, and have also started work on a new Mission Package Console (MPC ) to replace aging consoles on Littoral Combat Ships.
The team began work on the design of the MPC in July 2019 by adapting the modular design inherent in the Tomahawk console, and are currently on track for the critical design review in June, with the first delivery of the fleet. scheduled for November.
“It’s a great feeling to know that every Tomahawk ship in the fleet now has at least some of our design installed and in service,” said Emmerich. “We hope our efforts to create a system that is more affordable and easier to maintain will be carried out by those who matter most, the sailors who operate and maintain the equipment.”