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ONR puts spotlight on importance of sea-based aviation science and technology

ARLINGTON, Va. Looking to tap into the resources of academia, industry and the Navy, the Office of Naval Research announced May 2 that it is giving prominence to Sea-based Aviation by making it a National Naval Responsibility (NNR).

This designation will address specific science and technology (S&T) challenges associated with sea-based aircraft operations, such as the corrosive impact of the saltwater environment on unmanned aerial vehicle airframes.

On April 12, Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Nevin Carr made Sea-based Aviation the fifth NNR adding it to a list ( that includes ocean acoustics, undersea weapons, naval engineering and undersea medicine. ONR's Air Warfare and Weapons Department will lead the Sea-based Aviation research program.

"Establishing Sea-based Aviation as a National Naval Responsibility will help ensure ONR continues focusing the necessary S&T talent and resources to meet future aviation needs that are specific to the Navy and Marine Corps," Carr said. "NNRs exist to highlight areas where the Navy and Marine Corps depend on robust, long-term research that may not be driven otherwise by commercial demand."

A special panel conducted a detailed assessment of candidate S&T efforts that could be considered for NNR status. The board considered such factors as ship compatibility, funding, infrastructure and integration with other programs.

Examples of current Sea-based Aviation S&T challenges that could fall under the new NNR include the unique design differences driving development of tailless optionally manned tactical aircraft and shipboard compatible, high-speed unmanned vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

The new recognition could also help drive industry funding toward S&T, particularly from companies willing to align their own independent research and development funds to naval needs, said Michael Deitchman, who heads ONR's Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Department.

Future challenges that could potentially become research areas include aircraft survivability, power efficiency, directed energy, air refueling, landing systems, design tools, propulsion, ship interfaces, corrosion and cargo systems.

"The signing of the NNR as naval aviation celebrates its 100th anniversary will help us shape the discussion on these unique naval S&T efforts," Deitchman said.


Contact: Peter Vietti
Office of Naval Research

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