OSD Establishes JHTO Systems Engineering Field Activity at NSWC Crane

October 15, 2020 – The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) has established its Joint Hypersonics Transition Office (JHTO) Systems Engineering Field Activity at Naval Support Activity, Crane. The decision to partner with Crane was made to leverage the growing suite of government, industry, and academic capabilities associated with that organization. Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Dr. Mark Lewis, and JHTO Director, Dr. Gillian Bussey, announced the JHTO Systems Engineering Field Activity opening in a virtual event on October 15th.

This announcement was part of Dr. Lewis’ engagement with Indiana’s Tier I research institutions, Purdue University and University of Notre Dame, who play a crucial role in hypersonics research and development. Lewis also met virtually with Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb and Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger to discuss the full scope of the DoD investment in Indiana.

“The JHTO and its Systems Engineering Field Activity present a signature opportunity for the Department. Leveraging the capabilities at NSWC Crane, we cannot only develop effective hypersonic technologies, but we can also develop them affordably at the speed of relevance to our warfighters. Proactive engineering for affordable upgrades is critical to the long-term sustainability of these systems,” said Dr. Lewis.

NSWC Crane has received recent, significant Department of Defense (DoD) investments in test and verification and validation capabilities. This includes over $200 million in unique capabilities that include an underwater launch test complex, a missile technology evaluation facility, an integrated Hardware-in-the-Loop (HWIL) / Software-in-the-Loop (SWIL) test bed, and a Modeling & Simulation lab. More than three hundred people at Crane are working to advance hypersonic technologies and the enabling capabilities to make them possible.

“NSWC Crane has become a critical hub in the hypersonics development ecosystem,” says Rick Davidoff, Acting Director of the JHTO Systems Engineering Field Activity. “This exciting announcement is the culmination of the hard work and dedication of many people. The JHTO Field Activity at Crane will allow OSD to leverage earlier and ongoing investments at Crane to help all three Services improve their hypersonic weapons with more rapid, adaptable, and modular upgrades. Indiana and the larger Midwest will have a long-term, critical role in this important national security mission.”

The JHTO, headquartered at the Pentagon, was established by Congressional direction and its authorities were renewed in the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. The JHTO is responsible for creating strategies and roadmaps to develop hypersonic technologies and transition them to operational capabilities, for coordinating with foreign allies and partners, and for bolstering the hypersonics workforce. Additionally, it is establishing a university consortium for applied hypersonics to leverage the nation’s academic community towards hypersonics-related research and workforce development.

“We anticipate the OSD Field Activity at Crane will play a critical leadership role as hypersonics technologies are developed and transitioned,” said Dr. Bussey.

The JHTO Systems Engineering Field Activity at Crane will perform the detailed engineering activities to help execute the JHTO’s mandate. The Field Activity will coordinate architectures, interfaces, schedules, and plans to transition a more modular, affordable, and upgradable hypersonics portfolio of capabilities and technologies. The Systems Engineering Field Activity has four engineering focus areas: System Architectures and Guidelines, S&T Management, Transition Management, and Modeling and Simulation. The Field Activity will also execute some of the workforce development initiatives, including sponsored research, curriculum development, and engagements with industry to create a growing pipeline of highly technical talent to enter the hypersonics workforce.