NSWC Crane works with Professor Rose-Hulman to expand niche radio technology capabilities

A few years ago, a group of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) employees visited the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT) in Terre Haute, Indiana, for a premier career fair. cycle. RHIT, a nationally recognized science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) university, is less than two hours from NSWC Crane. The job fair sparked a chance encounter that brought a unique ability to the fleet.

Garry Wieneke, who at the time was the assistant manager of the Expeditionary Electronic Warfare (EW) division at NSWC Crane, was among the group that attended this job fair. Along with meeting students who might be interested in working at NSWC Crane, Wieneke was introduced to an RHIT professor named Dr. Edward Doering.

Dr. Doering, a professor of electrical and computer engineering (ECE), has been a member of the Rose-Hulman faculty since 1994. He says he regularly attends job fairs to visit former students and was delighted to meet Wieneke at the Spring Job Fair 2019.

“I had some vague knowledge of Crane before I met Garry,” says Dr. Doering, “but I had no idea of ​​the electronic warfare and digital signal processing work being done at NSWC Crane. A number of Rose-Hulman graduates also work at Crane, and I had the pleasure of meeting many of my former students after I joined. I was very impressed when I learned about the breadth and variety of business at Crane.

According to his letters of recommendation for a temporary professorship, Dr. Doering is a renowned expert in signal processing, digital system design with field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), and electronics. Wieneke, who is now deputy director of the corporate operations department at NSWC Crane, is himself an RHIT alumnus and says Dr. Doering’s expertise is both unique and in a critical technology area.

“Dr. Doering is an expert in digital signal processing (DSP) technology,” says Wieneke. “DSP is a key technology area for NSWC Crane. to work with us.

Dr. Doering completed a six-month sabbatical at Crane and continued his contributions as a temporary faculty member. An NSWC Crane faculty appointment offers accredited college or university faculty members the opportunity to work with NSWC Crane employees on scientific or special projects.

Dr. Doering says his time at Crane was a valuable experience.

“With the technical work going on at Crane, I started to apply my knowledge of DSP when I came to work on specific projects,” says Dr. Doering. “I also gained a whole new understanding of what it means to focus on keeping fighters safe and helping them accomplish their mission. It is very satisfying to contribute to this effort.

Digital Signal Processing (DSP) & Software Defined Radio (SDR) Technology

DSP is an essential component of today’s information technology. According to Dr. Doering, this involves digitizing signals that can be manipulated with mathematical algorithms on a computer, FPGA or embedded DSP microprocessor.

According to the description of the Software Defined Radio course by Dr. Doering, SDR technology is characterized by its flexibility. He continues: “The simple modification of the software can completely change the functionality of the radio.” The course covers what an SDR designer does to build a complete digital radio.

Many military computer systems are based on radio frequency technology. Historically, radio technology is purpose-built, like AM/FM radio in an automobile.

“That’s what it was built for, and that’s it,” says Dr Doering. “It’s not flexible, not programmable. Before SDR technology, different military radios had different standards, and a dedicated unit would be needed for each standard with no interoperability between them. However, SDR technology is based on an entirely generic hardware device that connects the radio frequency (RF) world to the DSP world, and once the signal is in the DSP world, you can easily implement many different standards on the same radio system.

SDR technology allows old systems to easily communicate with new systems.

“SDR brings the flexibility to do different modulations. In comparison, SDR is much more economical, flexible, and time-saving compared to other technologies that allow older and newer systems to communicate,” says Dr. Doering.

When niche knowledge meets mission

Dr. Doering now works full-time in the summer and as a temporary teacher the rest of the year. His time as an employee turned into many spin-off projects and initiatives, both at Crane and RHIT.

Tom Talbert is the chief engineer of the Expeditionary Electronic Warfare Systems Division. He says Crane benefited from Dr. Doering’s expertise in several ways.

“During his sabbatical, he did a lot of things,” says Talbert. “After seeing what we were doing, he took the time to design a three-day Software Defined Radio course for Crane employees. He made a great partnership for Crane; his expert DSP knowledge helps improve techniques that thwart threats. He passed this knowledge on to employees where they were able to incorporate improvements into weapon systems, improving our ability to defeat threats.

Talbert says this area of ​​expertise is crucial to meeting the needs of fleet combatants.

“This area of ​​expertise is important to the mission because we need systems on the ground that can defeat emerging threats,” says Talbert. “EW threats are rapidly evolving and in order to stay ahead of future threats, Navy systems must incorporate the latest RF neutralization techniques. Software-defined radio systems may incorporate these techniques; effectively changing their functionality as soon as the new technique is uploaded into the system.

Dr. Doering says the course at Crane is a program under development.

“Crane’s workshop focused on SDR technology,” says Dr. Doering. “I developed a curriculum on the course and wanted the course to be hands-on so that employees have devices they can work with. It will basically be DTS 101.”

Wieneke says Dr. Doering brought the knowledge back to Rose-Hulman, where the new SDR course helps expose students to real-world challenges in GE.

“He resurrected an older class at RHIT and put a new spin on things,” says Wieneke. “NSWC Crane has also been able to sponsor several high level design projects, a student’s synthesis engineering project. Capstone projects include commercial hardware integration. ”

The resurrected class was a 400 level class called “Software Defined Radio”. Dr. Doering teaches courses in DSP, among other classes, and says there was interest in having the class reviewed.

“The work I did with Crane – I brought it back to Rose for the revised course,” says Dr. Doering. “Without Crane’s experience, I wouldn’t have had the knowledge to teach the class.” Dr Doering says he also drew inspiration from his technical mentor Tim Vance, chief engineer, now retired. “During his final presentation to the division, Tim Vance encouraged everyone to get their amateur radio license,” Dr. Doering recalled, “and I got mine three weeks later. Now I teach the SDR class with a big ham radio spin on the projects. My experience at Crane has shaped what I do at Rose: I can bring new ideas to the classroom.”

According to Dr. Doering, the updated RHIT SDR course provides students with more hands-on experience with communication systems.

“It extends what they learn and gives them practical application,” says Dr. Doering. “It’s fascinating to do wireless communication, that is, to send data from one radio to another without a visible connection…students can say, ‘I did this and it works really.” The course helps them gain hands-on experience with current technology. SDR technology is of constant interest and is the foundation of what is happening in wireless communications. It is developing and continuing to evolve and to change. “

Wieneke says partnerships like this are beneficial to both institutions and their missions.

“It’s a perfect example of how having part-time faculty is not only good for Crane, but also for universities and industries,” says Wieneke. “NSWC Crane continues to utilize the temporary faculty program to benefit our mission areas.”

Dr. Doering says the collaboration has been an opportunity to learn and contribute.

“This experience has allowed me to grow personally and professionally,” says Dr. Doering. “I give a course that I could not give otherwise. I am very satisfied to have made a good contribution to the mission. I didn’t do heavy work; I’ve really been involved in projects that bring success to the fighter. It’s satisfying to contribute to Crane’s mission.

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in expeditionary warfare, strategic missions, and electronic warfare. The Warfare Center is responsible for multi-domain, multi-spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing the capability of today’s Warfighter.

Join our team! NAVSEA employs a diverse, highly skilled, educated and skilled workforce – from students and entry-level employees to experienced professionals and people with disabilities. We support today’s Navy and Marine Corps ships, aircraft, weapon systems, and sophisticated computer systems. We are always looking for engineers, scientists, and other STEM professionals, as well as talented experts in business, finance, logistics, and other support services to ensure the U.S. Navy can protect and defend America. Please connect with NSWC Crane Recruiting on this site – https://navsea.recsolu.com/external/form/jmR6cUhZKZ_qD5QUqyMk8w or email us at [email protected]

Crane is the Acquisition Engineering and Technical Support Officer for the Navy’s Office of Strategic Programs for the fielding of the Integrated Nuclear Weapons Security System.

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