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FORT MONMOUTH, N.J. -- The Army honored its science and technology command with nine of the 11 awards given for its work with small businesses during the U.S. Army Small Business Innovation Research Achievement Awards ceremony at the Pentagon Conference Center May 24.

The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's communications and electronics center, CERDEC, set a new mark in its SBIR achievements by winning four of the awards, bringing the total to 19 SBIR awards earned since 1995 -- at least one award for every year the program was hosted.

"Partnering with small businesses allows CERDEC to explore a wider variety of innovative ideas and research in order to find solutions for problems out in the field," said Gary Blohm, CERDEC technical director. "It is a significant part of our processes that has led to providing significant capabilities to the Warfighter over the years. We have the honor of having Suzanne Weeks as our SBIR Coordinator, who in my mind is the best across the command."

The SBIR Achievement Awards are given to the best Army SBIR projects based on originality of research, relevance to the Army's mission, commercialization potential and the overall performance of the project. This year 471 projects were submitted and 37 were nominated.

"I believe that it shows how good our SBIR program addresses the Army needs. It also shows what a great team we have working on the SBIR program at CERDEC," said Weeks.

Army Research Laboratory, Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center, Simulation and Training Technology Center and Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center were the other RDECOM centers that earned SBIR awards.

CERDEC's awarded projects were from the Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate, I2WD, and the Command and Control Directorate, C2D, with two of the four awards going to Army Power technologies.

"Small businesses are the incubators for where new innovative concepts and technologies, that are born from academia, are matured to products we can transition through our development programs to the Army," said Edward Plichta, C2D Army Power Division chief. "I am proud of how our technical program managers, acquisition team members and industry partners performed in making this achievement possible."

Allan Chan, CERDEC I2WD, was awarded for his work with Oceanit Laboratories, Inc. in developing the Hostile Fire Detection System (HFDS), which detects small arms fire "faster than human reflexes."

Under funding from the Office of the Security of Defense, the HFDS is being combined with Arete Corporation's advanced laser pointing and tracking system to exhibit Hostile Fire Indication (HFI) and infrared countermeasure capabilities for helicopters, in order to improve sensor to shooter reaction time and reduce loss of life, said Chan. Oceanit Laboratories and Chan proposed in their SBIR nomination packet that this technology can be used not only to increase survivability in the field, but also to protect airports, U.S. embassies and other high risk areas.

"It is an honor for this organization to be recognized for work well done," said Chan.

Scott Merker, CERDEC C2D, and Polar Rain, Inc. took home an award for their ShapeDNA technology, which cleans and repairs illegible documents, handwritten or typed and in any language. The technology also works with language translation systems, so users can understand the documents once they are restored.

Providing sustainable, quiet and continuous power was the problem addressed by Selma Matthews, CERDEC C2D, and Precision Combustion, Inc., who were recognized for developing a JP-8 burner for portable 160W Stirling engine generators. "This expands the operational capabilities of the modular Army with a system that is logistically supportable in a tactical setting," she said. "The use of battlefield fuels helps to reduce the cost and logistic burden of supplying power and energy to the field."

Edmund Nawrocki, CERDEC C2D, and One-Cycle Control, Inc. were honored for the One-Cycle Control-Power Electronic Control and Conditioner system, a smaller and lighter power electronics component package, that when added to a tactical Generator Set can reduce weight and fuel consumption. The OCC-PECC can also be used with alternative energy, such as Solar Panels and Wind Turbines, said Nawrocki.

"Electronic controls are the linchpin for optimal operation of all power systems. They are a key technology driver which can enable significant reductions in life cycle costs, increase system reliability, availability and engine life, and reduce emissions," he said.

A government demonstration day is being planned to exhibit the OCC-PECC to Program Managers of different organizations.

"Receiving this award tells me that I was successful in giving something of value back to the Army to use in the support of our Warfighter," said Nawrocki.

All awardees were honored at the ceremony presented by Dr. Thomas H. Killion, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for research and technology. Program Executive Office Aviation and Army Space and Missile Defense Command were the other two SBIR Achievement Award-winning organizations.

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