NRL Researcher Awarded as Part of a Team Saving Marine Corps Millions

WASHINGTON — Dr. Marriner Merrill, a research scientist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, was recognized as part of a team that received the Navy "Innovation Excellence Acquisition Team of the Year Award" for demonstrated engineering ingenuity in developing a repair solution for delaminated transparent armor, estimated to save the Marine Corps $105 million.

The award was presented by James F. Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (ASN (RD&A)), at the Pentagon’s Acquisition Excellence Awards ceremony, Oct. 16.

“This award is a great honor and really demonstrates the impact we believe this technology will have,” said Merrill, lead technician for the project. “While this concept had been discussed by others, NRL’s work repairing field-delaminated transparent armor provided the necessary technical basis for the Marine Corps to move forward and transition the repair concept.”

2018 Navy "Innovation Excellence Acquisition Team of the Year Award

See Image description below.

A multidisciplinary group of scientists and engineers at NRL worked with the Marine Corps Systems Command team on repair solutions for vehicles experiencing premature transparent armor (ballistic glass) degradation. The award cited the team's superior technical expertise, innovation and professionalism, and estimated a savings of over $105 million for their solution.

The team skillfully pioneered a new set of processes to remove, re-laminate, and reinstall damaged transparent armor that would otherwise have been disposed. Furthermore, the team formulated scientific protocols to model the life expectancy of transparent armor in order to inform new manufacturing requirements.

NRL has been a leader in transparent armor re-lamination since 2012 when they demonstrated that delaminated transparent armor can be repaired by reprocessing in an autoclave and measured the durability of transparent armor that was repaired in different ways. Based on the success of that study, the Marine Corps was able to transition the technology to industrial partners. NRL scientists have continued to be heavily involved in the transition and serve as the primary in-house technical experts in transparent armor failure and repair for the Marine Corps Program Executive Officer Land Systems’, Program Manager Medium and Heavy Tactical Vehicles and the Automotive Research Team.

Dr. Merrill served as the technical lead for this effort, and many others affiliated with NRL, as employees, alumni and support, also contributed, including Dr. James P. Thomas, William Pogue, Christopher Kindle, Michael Doherty, and Dr. G. T. Pham, who also works for the Marine Corps SysCom.

The team included Major Thitipan Durasavin, USMC; Krista Francom, Marine Corps SysCom; Maurice Johnson, Marine Corps SysCom; Major Christopher Kiely, USMC; Dr. Marriner H. Merrill, U. S. Naval Research Laboratory; John Rooney, formerly Marine Corps SysCom; Tom Stevenson, Marine Corps SysCom; William “Scott” Story, Marine Corps SysCom; and Mark Totten, Marine Corps SysCom.


Image above: A scientist for the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory was part of a team that received the Navy "Innovation Excellence Acquisition Team of the Year Award" for demonstrated engineering ingenuity in developing a repair solution for delaminated transparent armor estimated to save the Marine Corps $105 million. Dr. Marriner Merrill, NRL researcher (2nd from left) served as a technical lead for this effort, and many others affiliated with NRL also contributed, including Dr. James P. Thomas, William Pogue, Christopher Kindle, Michael Doherty, and Dr. G. T. Pham. The Honorable James F. Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition, far right, and Ms. Jeanette Evans-Morgis, Deputy to the Commander, Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC), far left, presented the award to the team, including: (l-r) Dr. Merrill; Ms. Krista Francom, MCSC; Mr. Tom Stevenson, MCSC; Mr. William “Scott” Story, MCSC; Mr. John Rooney, formerly MCSC; Mr. Maurice Johnson, MCSC; Maj. Christopher Kiely, USMC; Maj. Thitipan Durasavin, USMC. Not pictured, Mr. Mark Totten, Marine Corps Syscom. (Department of the Navy)