Five Engineers Join “Etter Elite” for Electromagnetic Railgun Advancements

Office of Naval Research
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875 N. Randolph St., #1224
Arlington, Va. 22203-1771
Office: (703) 696-5031
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: AUG. 17, 2012

By Sierra Jones, Office of Naval Research

ARLINGTON, Va.—Five members of the Office of Naval Research’s Electromagnetic (EM) Railgun technology team received one of the Navy’s most prestigious achievement awards during a Pentagon ceremony Aug. 17.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition honored the team with the 2011 Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award, citing the team’s work to significantly advance the EM Railgun launcher technology.

The EM Railgun is a long-range weapons system that fires projectiles using electricity instead of chemical propellants. Magnetic fields created by high electrical currents accelerate a sliding metal conductor or armature between two rails to launch projectiles at 4,500 to 5,600 miles per hour.

"This is an honor,” said Ben McGlasson, a mechanical engineer for the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWC-DD) and product team lead for the railgun launcher. “To be recognized for our teamwork underscores the Navy’s long-term commitment to developing and maturing this weapons system.”

Along with McGlasson, other NSWC-DD railgun honorees include: Cynthia Holland, lead test engineer for the EM Launch Facility; Vanessa J. Lent, deputy lead for EM Weapons Systems Engineering; Jeff A. Polochak, lead for the EM Railgun Pulsed Power Repetitive Fires Development and Testing; and Adam R. Jones, deputy lead for the EM Railgun Projectile Integrated Project Team.

“We’ve assembled a highly dedicated and talented team of engineers who have made extraordinary achievements,” said Roger McGinnis, who oversees the innovative naval prototype for ONR’s Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Department. “The EM Railgun provides the Navy with greater steel-on-target accuracy and firepower, but importantly, also affords our warfighters and vessels with improved protections and multi-mission capabilities.”

McGinnis credited the team with helping the Navy achieve two world record launches of 10 megajoules in 2008 and 33 megajoules in 2010.

Established in 2006, the award is named for Dr. Delores Etter, a former assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, and recognizes Navy civilian and military personnel for exceptional science and engineering achievements. A total of 14 group and individual awards were presented this year, representing 37 scientists and engineers.

About the Office of Naval Research

The Department of the Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps’ technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

Office of Naval Research
Corporate Strategic Communications
875 N. Randolph St., #1224
Arlington, Va. 22203-1771
Office: (703) 696-5031
Fax: (703) 696-5940
Email: onrcsc@onr.navy.mil
Web: www.onr.navy.mil
Facebook: www.facebook.com/officeofnavalresearch

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