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NEWS | Jan. 7, 2014

NRL Restores World War II-Era Equipment for Today's Research Needs

By Donna McKinney

It sounds like the ultimate recycling project - the Naval Research Laboratory and the Office of Naval Research through its INTOP Program have taken a 96,000-pound piece of equipment that was used in the 1940s and are refurbishing it for use in research today. This World War II-era equipment, a three-axis tilting platform, now called the Ship Motion System (SMS) is located at NRL's Chesapeake Bay Detachment, along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Calvert County, Maryland.

When the SMS platform was initially installed at CBD in the 1940s, it was used as a mechanically operated deck with a heavy machine gun director and a machine gun mount installed. Gun crews and director operators could be trained on the platform under conditions that approximated the movements of a vessel at sea.

NRL's Richard Perlut and Chuck Hilterbrick, engineers in the Tactical Electronic Warfare Division, are leading the effort to restore the tilting platform. Once it is complete, the platform will be used as a ship motion platform, providing researchers with a simulation of the motion that occurs on a ship at sea. The platform offers potential uses for researchers working in the areas of radar, tactical electronic warfare, communications, optical sciences, and remote sensing.

The Platform weight limit is 22,500 lbs. It is large enough to hold a twenty ft. conex on its pitch or roll axis with a weight eccentricity of 3' by 1'. The refurbished motion capabilities are:

CBD occupies a 168-acre site near Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, and provides facilities and support services for research in radar, electronic warfare, optical devices, materials, communications, and fire research. Because of its location high above the Chesapeake Bay on the western shore, unique experiments can be performed in conjunction with the Tilghman Island site 16 km across the bay from CBD. Some of these experiments include low clutter and generally low background radar measurements. By using CBD's support vessels, experiments are performed that involve dispensing chaff over water and radar target characterizations of aircraft and ships.

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