A U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center employee was awarded the 2018 Foreign Comparative Testing Project Manager of the Year award March 28 for outstanding leadership on the Mobile Land-Based Anti-Ship Fires FCT project.
The Foreign Comparative Testing program aims to test items and technologies of foreign allies with a high technology readiness level to satisfy valid defense requirements quickly and economically.
Hunter Blackwell, an employee within the CCDC AvMC’s Weapons Development and Integration Directorate, coordinated with foreign and domestic industry partners, the Multi-Domain Task Force headquarters, the 7th Field Artillery Regiment, and countless other interagency and interservice organizations to bring the project to fruition.
The goal of the MLAF FCT project was to integrate the fielded Norwegian Naval Strike Missile onto a U.S. Army palletized loading system truck and demonstrate the system against an over-the-horizon maritime target, Blackwell explained.
“Mr. Blackwell expertly navigated all facets of the FCT process and complexities of a project of this caliber,” said Charles W. Perkins, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Prototyping & Concept Experimentation director. “This innovative weapon system fills a capability gap and provides a cross-domain, over-the-horizon, force projection capability for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps in support of regional combatant commanders.”
The MLAF FCT successfully demonstrated the NSM during the 2018 Rim of the Pacific, or RIMPAC, exercise. “This project provided commanders with an option to rapidly acquire a cross domain fires capability, while the CCDC AvMC developed technologies to support the U.S. Army’s objective cross domain fires capability,” Blackwell said.
“Hunter did an outstanding job working across our organization, with (Program Executive Office Missiles and Space), a combatant command, domestic and international defense industries, and other key stakeholders across the DoD, to pull off a very successful multi-domain operations demonstration in just under two years for the Army,” said Barry Pike, CCDC AvMC WDI director. “We’re all very proud of Hunter and the great workforce he represents.”
“One of the most rewarding parts of this project was working with active duty U.S. Army units to demonstrate a new technology,” said Blackwell. “It is incredibly motivating to see the excitement in a young private’s face as they get to participate in the development of capabilities that they will be able to use fully as (non-commissioned officers) later in their careers.”
Blackwell said he hopes more CCDC AvMC engineers will get to have this experience in the future.