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Weapons Division team recognized for fulfilling critical DoD need

LEEFI Team poses at China Lake
Dan Carreno, right, director of the Weapons and Energetics Department at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, joins members of the Low-Energy Exploding Foil Initiator Team to commemorate a successful stop-gap initiative during an awards ceremony at China Lake on May 24. (U.S. Navy photo by Paul Kakert, CTR)
The Low-Energy Exploding Foil Initiator Stop-Gap Team was recently honored for their work in preventing the loss of critical Department of Defense weapons components during an award ceremony on May 24 at China Lake.  

In 2016, the team set up a low-energy exploding foil initiator assembly facility, which served as a duplicate of Reynolds Systems Inc. Tasked by the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Improved Bradley Acquisition Subsystems Program, the NAWCWD team was granted the stop-gap capability, which resulted in millions of dollars of savings for the government.   

Since the LEEFI components are used in several weapons systems, there was some concern that if something were to happen to RSI, a small facility in northern California, the inability to get these fuzes could be detrimental to DoD.

“Nothing goes ‘boom’ until you get the first boom,” said director for the NAWCWD Weapons and Energetics Department Dan Carreno. “Your response,” he said to the team “sets the stage and that’s what NAWCWD and China Lake energetics are all about. That sets the standard for how we are going to continue to push our in-house capability, our expertise and our ability to work with our suppliers as a team effort.”   

According to Jeff Roquemore, head of the Fuze and Warhead Division, the team was tasked with identifying adequate existing facilities, making improvements in order to make them suitable for the required operations as well as identifying and purchasing equivalent equipment, all while adhering to safety standards and adopting operations to meet Navy and NAWCWD standards. The LEEFI team underwent a substantial level of training required for RSI’s operations. 

“The team was driven by a desire to support the warfighter and protect our inventory by standing up this capability,” Roquemore noted in his nomination. “Each and every one on the team brought their unique skills, knowledge and expertise to overcome challenges and provide solutions that moved this project forward to its successful completion. This effort could not have been accomplished without the close coordination and collaboration between our China Lake team and RSI personnel.”