NRL Marks 80-Year Anniversary

6/30/2003 - 44-03r
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (202) 767-2541

The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) opened its doors on July 2, 1923 and has since served as the cornerstone of science and technological invention and innovation for the Navy and Marine Corps team. NRL has literally tipped the balance of power in favor of our Armed Forces a number of times. Examples include NRL's invention and development of the first U.S. radar prior to World War II; NRL's development and launching of the world's first intelligence satellite, GRAB I; and NRL's TIMATION concept in the 1960s that led to the Laboratory's invention and development of the first satellite prototypes of the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) in the 1970s. GPS technology is the cornerstone for today's precision-guided munitions. Each of these NRL discoveries transformed how our Navy operates.

NRL has continued the legacy of timely and transformational science and technology excellence. In response to the war on terrorism, the Naval Research Laboratory accelerated development of the Dragon Eye unmanned aerial vehicle, a small and inexpensive unit that can be carried by a Marine in a backpack. Dragon Eye can be configured with various day and night vision cameras, chemical and biological sensors, and other payloads. Other promising research programs have been accelerated, including the InfraLynx mobile crisis communications response system; the CT-Analyst chemical, biological, and radiological dispersion prediction system; and the nuclear quadrupole resonance explosives detector system for airport and mail handling facilities. NRL's extraordinary efforts ensured these and other critical technologies were able to be deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, and to U.S.-based homeland security first responders. NRL is constantly evaluating its program balance to ensure its position at the cutting edge of new scientific fields. NRL has established the Institute of Nanoscience; a new state-of-the-art facility which will open later this year. The Nanoscience Center will be available to all our divisions as a resource that crosses many traditional disciplines.

As NRL's former Director of Research, Dr. Timothy Coffey, stated "The true mission of NRL is to ensure, in concert with many other organizations, that this nation is never surprised nor defeated by a technologically superior foe. That is the business of defense research and engineering." NRL takes pride in continuing this legacy, ensuring that the Naval Research Laboratory remains vital as the Department of the Navy's Corporate Laboratory - providing research solutions to tomorrow's problems and ensuring that our Navy of the future is the most technologically superior in the world.

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About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory provides the advanced scientific capabilities required to bolster our country's position of global naval leadership. The Laboratory, with a total complement of approximately 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to advance research further than you can imagine. For more information, visit the NRL website or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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