More than 600 attendees participated the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center's 10th annual Science and Technology Day networking event on May 11 at Picatinny Arsenal.

The event featured 85 ARDEC scientific teams, displaying their science and technology (S&T) programs with the intent to foster discussion and collaboration across the organization, as well as with other U.S. military organizations.

"Every day our engineers, scientists and support personnel are working to ensure that our warfighter has the latest and most innovative technologies available to accomplish their mission," said Sheila Speroni, S&T Networking Day Coordinator.

"Our annual networking event affords all those at Team Picatinny, as well as our invited outside stakeholders, to highlight and exchange information about our important work. Under these fiscally constrained times, this exchange is essential and a major enabler for fostering collaboration across ARDEC and with our partners," Speroni explained.

Projects on display were from the ARDEC S&T portfolio including major initiatives such as, Systems Concepts & Technology, Manufacturing Technology, and In-house Laboratory Independent Research. Funding for these innovative technologies is enabled by funding provided by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology.

ARDEC employees also showcased some enterprise business related functions, such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) outreach.

In addition to networking across ARDEC and other Picatinny organizations, representatives from more than a dozen other military organizations attended the event.

"S&T day is a celebration to me of what we do. It's a display of being ahead of the threat, and there's things here that will get us ahead of the threat," ARDEC Director John Hedderich told attendees.

"That's what we've always got to remember in our business. Good enough ain't good enough for us," Hedderich added. "We have to project ten years ahead what the threat is going to be and what we can do to innovate to get ahead of it so that way we're always ahead. And you're demonstrating here your ability to think outside the box and get ahead of the threat."

Maj. Gen. Anthony Potts, Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), and Senior Commander, Natick Soldier Systems, also attended the S&T Day. ARDEC is a subordinate command to RDECOM.

"For an entire world, we stand as the guardians of freedom," Potts said of America's military. "But we cannot do that unless we have the technology and the weapons systems that enable our great Soldiers to be the guardians of freedom," Potts said.
"Think of the people around the world that would potentially live in oppression around the world if we didn't have a United States Soldier saying, 'Not on my watch.' You enable that around the world."

A panel of judges also selected three winning teams. The teams were selected based on benefit to the warfighter, technology quality and presenter interaction.

FIRST PLACE: Composites for Mortars
Joshua Root, Andrew Littlefield, Deborah Bleau

The Composites for Mortars team is researching ways to lighten the weight and improve the performance of the 120 mm mortar. This is the second time that their mortar efforts were recognized during the ARDEC S&T Day.

"It feels great to win two years in a row and to see that our efforts are so highly regarded and appreciated," said Littlefield. "What is more important though is that we have a chance to truly help the Soldier. This program is striving to reduce the weight of mortar tubes and baseplates by 40 percent while not decreasing capabilities. This will provide the Soldier with more flexibility in what they can carry while keeping the same load."

"Our experience at ARDEC's S&T Networking Day and our program's win validates the importance of our work and its value to the Soldier," said Root. "We feel that the technology we are working on for mortar systems will be a tremendous benefit for Soldiers, lightening their load and giving them the freedom and flexibility to adapt to constantly changing mission needs."

SECOND PLACE: Rapid Fabrication via Additive Manufacturing on the Battlefield (R-FAB)
Timothy Phillis, Jim Zunino, Vern Vondera, Ryan Petillo, David Sabanosh

The R-FAB program has the potential to allow Soldiers to manufacture spare parts in the battlefield, which could increase Army readiness and effectiveness. The process is commonly known at 3-D printing or additive manufacturing.

According to the judges' feedback, "This technology addresses one of the major gaps affecting U.S. ground forces as we transition to being a more expeditionary force. Being expeditionary results in a huge operational and cost strain on our forces.

"The R-FAB reduces ammo logistics burden by pushing the manufacture of critical spare and repair parts as far forward as possible, ensuring operational readiness while reducing O&S (Operations and Sustainment) costs," the judges said. "The added ability to draw the needed raw materials from locally procured materials is very innovative and green."


THIRD PLACE: Net Zero Technologies for the Army's Industrial Munitions Base
Ben Smolinski, Matthew Conway, Steven Sheets, Tim Dawag

This program explores and develops technology for the Industrial Base to achieve the Army's Net Zero energy, water and waste policy. The Net Zero directive strives to reduce overall energy and water use, and to reduce, reuse or recycle compost and waste streams at depot and ammunition centers.

According to the judges, "This technology won as it deals with the long-term problem of remediating waste products from the manufacture of energetic materials. If we fail to mitigate this it will ultimately impact military operations and this is unacceptable.

"There is a secondary benefit of developing energy as a by-product. The team did a very good job of explaining how the technology works and for explaining the business case for implementation."
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The U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.