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6 November 1997
For Immediate Release

Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Awarded Navy Certificate of Merit

The Navy Certificate of Merit was awarded today to The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) for its contributions to the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) program, an anti-air warfare system that continuously links radars and other cooperating sensors and weapons in a battle group, creating a single composite radar track picture available instantly to all units of the group.

The Honorable John W. Douglass, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, presented the award to APL Director Gary L. Smith at a ceremony attended by Navy and Laboratory representatives at the Laboratory's Laurel, Maryland, facility. Mr. Douglass said, "When you look back over the history of this Laboratory...it has always been the hallmark of the Laboratory to be out there on the razor's edge of technology, taking technology and turning it into workable things that sailors and marines can use." Commenting on the significance of the CEC program, he said, "In some far part of this world that we can't predict today, probably on a stormy, awful night (CEC) will mean the difference of life or death to young sailors...and (APL) can be proud of that."

Rear Adm. Rodney P. Rempt, Program Executive Officer for Theater Air Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, told attendees at the ceremony, "CEC is one of the most successful programs in the Department of Defense." The citation, signed by Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton, says, in part, "[APL], and especially Laboratory members of the CEC team, deserve the highest recognition for their significant achievement and the gratitude of all in the Department of the Navy."

The Certificate Of Merit is the Navy's highest institutional award. It is presented to corporations, associations, or other groups for outstanding services to the Department of the Navy in connection with a single project or program. It is granted by the Navy for only the most outstanding contributions or achievements.

Dr. Smith says the award highlights what can happen when the Navy, Laboratory researchers, and industry work together. "APL is justifiably proud of the role it has played in the accomplishments that led to this award," Dr. Smith said. "But we are deeply aware that CEC is not only an APL award. The Navy's leadership and commitment to this program were essential, as were the contributions of so many others outside of APL. We are proud to have been a member of that larger team."

The Laboratory's involvement in the CEC program began in 1987 and it has since grown to one of APL's most significant research and development efforts. Conrad Grant, who heads APL's CEC activities, says, "CEC gives the Navy a level of capability unattainable with any other system. It enhances the performance of existing sensor and weapon systems." The system allows the battle group to engage targets which are at greatly extended ranges beyond a ship's radar horizon and targets that were previously considered difficult to detect and track. CEC also makes it possible for a ship or other battle group component to use targeting data from another unit and automatically determines who will shoot at what target and when. The information is merged into a common picture on all CEC ships and aircraft in the battle group so each unit can see what any single unit sees, no matter where it is.

In 1987 APL proposed the CEC concept to the Navy as a way to extend the Navy's current capabilities. After initial approval to proceed, the Laboratory conducted critical experiments, and developed and fabricated advanced development models, including more than two million lines of computer program code. Today APL functions as Technical Direction Agent, developing and demonstrating new concepts and supporting contractors by monitoring the technical work of industry. The Laboratory also serves as Test Conductor for ongoing test activities.

This is the Laboratory's second Navy Certificate of Merit. In 1961 APL received the award for outstanding service in ballistic missile systems development and analysis.


For more information contact

For more information, contact APL Public Information Officer Helen Worth; phone: 240-228-5113 or 410-778-5113.