The Navy selected NAWCWD's Spike missile to be featured at the first Department of Defense Lab Day held May 14 at the Pentagon to showcase innovations aimed at improving military capabilities.
"We're here to recognize the ground breaking work going on in DoD labs," said Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. "We are in pursuit of the next suite of game-changing technologies."
Mike Murphree, NAWCWD's Spike project leader, spoke to about 100 people and answered questions about Spike throughout the daylong event.
"This was a great event for Spike and NAWCWD," Murphree said. "We had a lot of good engagement with all the services, especially the Marine Corps."
Murphree told the story of Spike, a forward-firing miniature munition, and how it was conceived, designed, developed and tested all in-house at NAWCWD. Spike is an example of how the government can procure and deliver sophisticated guided missiles at a much lower cost than it is currently experiencing by owning and controlling a weapons design, using modern modular designs and commercial-off-the-shelf components.
Spike is a multi-purpose system that can be launched from the ground or the air, and is capable of being shoulder-fired. Several Spike missiles could also be loaded on a single mount to engage multiple targets. Engineers working on Spike said it's not a one-missile-fits-all but there are several capability gaps for which Spike would be a good fit.
To date, more than 26 advanced development all-up test missiles have been built and tested by the NAWCWD team. In June 2013, a successful counter-unmanned aerial vehicle demonstration was conducted at NAWCWD China Lake. The most recent milestone achieved was the launching of two folding-fin configuration missiles from a tube in April. Stable flights were observed to impact for both missiles.
Though Spike has been successfully demonstrated against a myriad of fixed and moving targets at sea, on land, and in the air, the NAWCWD team continues to look for innovative ways to hone the design and add capability. Spike is still in development but, according to NAWCWD leadership, it could be rapidly deployed and would help provide U.S. and allied warfighters with an unfair advantage.
One Marine near the Spike missile display at the Pentagon was overheard saying, "I wish I had some of those."
DoD's Office of Acquisition, Technology and Logistics hosted the lab day event in the Pentagon courtyard. It was created to increase public awareness and understanding of the complex and diverse programs and projects being conducted in DoD labs. Invited guests included members of Congress, DoD personnel, media, and high school students participating in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs.
The DoD Lab enterprise consists of about 38,000 scientists and engineers and more than 60 labs across 22 states. More than 100 Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and DoD Medical innovations were on display at DoD Lab Day.
"All of these demonstrations represent the leading edge of technology," said Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work. "We must continue to innovate to protect our country. Technological superiority is not an American birthright. We have assumed it since World War II but it is under threat. We have to work every day to keep it."