NSA Crane's largest tenant command is Naval Surface Warfare Center-Crane (NSWC Crane). NSWC Crane is recognized worldwide as modern and sophisticated leader in diverse and highly technical product lines. The 3,000 highly skilled scientific, technical and business professionals of the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center, partnered with over 2,000 support contract personnel, provide research, development, acquisition, and in-service technical support for sensors, electronics, electronic and special warfare weapons for the Navy and across the DoD. NSWC's activities are guided by three focus areas, which align with some of the 21st century military's most pressing needs: Strategic Missions, Electronic Warfare/Information Operations and Special Missions.
NSWC's strategic missions focus is centrally geared for supporting the national strategic assets of the United States, especially America's strategic triad. The U.S. strategic, or nuclear triad, is comprised of strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Taken together, these three components significantly increase the U.S. nuclear deterrent. With more than 50 years with the Navy's ballistic missiles and more than 30 years with the Air Force's strategic missiles and an essential role through 2080, NSWC Crane is indispensable to the U.S.'s nuclear deterrence strategy by ensuring 100% operational readiness and effectiveness of missile systems through:
- Designing and testing of critical trusted electronics.
- Ensuring functionality in extreme atmospheric conditions.
- Building anti-tamper capabilities and protecting against counterfeit parts.
- Designing, building, and maintaining highly reliable power and energy systems.
In fact, NSWC has successfully supported the Trident Ballistic Missile Program by ensuring that every test shot fired is without flaw. Under strategic missions, NSWC also has expertise in radar systems, radiation hardened system, interconnect technologies, asset security & access control, and launcher and support systems.
Electronic Warfare/Information Operations
NSWC has over 60 years of Electronic Warfare involvement. It holds the largest naval electronic warfare body of knowledge including expertise in multi-domain, cross-domain integration, full-spectrum, and full life cycle systems. Its primary areas of technical expertise are advanced spectrum warfare technologies; electronic warfare; electronic warfare support and electronic attack; infrared countermeasures and seeker exercise support; and live-virtual constructive electromagnetic spectrum analysis and evaluation. With the DoD's largest concentration of Electronic Warfare expertise, NSWC Crane is the Navy's Center of Excellence for air, ground, undersea, and surface electronic warfare, including the intercepting, capturing and analysis of images and radio signals. NWSC-Crane provides distinct and essential capabilities in:
- Microwave Technologies Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E)
- Radar components sustainment
- Infrared countermeasures and pyrotechnic RDT&E and sustainment
Over the last decade demand for expertise in Electronic Warfare has increased significantly, especially with the usage of Radio-controlled Improvised Explosive Devices (RCIEDs) by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. By using commercially available devices such as cell phones or garage-door openers, insurgents are able to detonate RCIEDs remotely. The problem was so severe that in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom nearly 2500 service members lost their lives to IEDs—a number does not include the countless others that have been injured by the explosives.
One of NSWC's greatest successes is in its counter IED work. For instance, NSWC-Crane assisted in a two-year fielding program to provide Counter RCIED technology to the Iraqi government. According toWarfighter Solutions, NSWC Crane worked with the Iraqi government to provide more than 400 Symphony Counter RCIED Electronic Warfare (CREW) systems to Iraqi troops. This added protection afforded the Iraqi government the ability to increase independence from the security support that U.S. and coalition forces provide.
Moreover in a display of its urgent mission to support the warfighter, NSWC working with other teams have been able to develop counters to new RCIEDs used by insurgents and successfully deploy that technology in the system within a matter of days.
NSWC's special mission focus centers on giving the elite warfighter an unfair advantage over the enemy. To aid the elite warfighter, NSWC uses threat-based capability development; that is, they let real need drive the solutions. At the core of the threat-based capability development is the soldier and his ammunition and weaponry. Outside of that “core” are sensors and communication, mobility and maneuverability, munitions and weapons as well as training that support the warfighter. NSWC Crane directly addresses these areas of need through its primary areas of technical expertise including specialty small arms weapons and ammunition; expeditionary air command and control systems; specialized hand emplaced man portable munitions; ground, surface and air surveillance systems; specialized electro-optic visual augmentation sensors, and laser makers; ground, surface and air platform sensors and weapon system integration. Through Crane's expertise, they have helped support special missions by developing the sensors used on the Predator as well as developing and implementing the Special Operations Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR).
With NSWC's expertise in this field they are able to service other agencies and branches of the military that have similar needs including Marine expeditionary units, three letter agencies and even homeland security. For instance, one of the sensor systems NSWC developed to increase situational awareness in Iraq is being considered by the Department of Homeland Security to monitor the U.S. border with Mexico.
For their extraordinary work in this area, NSWC Crane is the Center of Excellence for Special Operations Weapons and Weaponry, developing and ensuring safe, reliable, and effective weapons, munitions, and electronic systems for Special Operations and Expeditionary Forces with emphasis on the most elite warfighters. Crane provides distinct expertise in rapid development, evaluation and fielding of:
- Weapons and ammunition specifically for Special Operations Forces.
- Man-portable anti-personnel and anti-material munitions.
- Electro-optic and visual augmentation sensors and laser markers.
- Explosive detection, and personnel and vehicle scanning.
- Expeditionary command and control systems.
In sum, NSWC-Crane's reach is broad: Crane's fingerprints can be found on almost every ship, carrier, missile, submarine, and aircraft in the Navy as well as in the other three branches of the military. NSWC's value can be distilled down to four points:
- Comprehensive support for complex military systems spanning development, deployment and sustainment.
- Partnering with private industry to capitalize on collaborative efforts to streamline the introduction of new products for the warfighter.
- Real time development and rapid implementation of practical solutions for the military's toughest problems.
- Advanced application of continuous improvement processes for best in class customer satisfaction and value.