Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment Program

The Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment Program Office (PMA-251) provides life-cycle acquisition management for Navy and Marine Corps systems and equipment utilized for the launch and recovery of current and future fixed and rotary wing aircraft. ALRE products include catapults, arresting gear, helicopter landing systems, wind measuring systems, aviation based information systems, aviation marking and lighting, recovery systems and visual landing aids, aircraft firefighting equipment, and expeditionary airfield systems and related products.


Captain Kenneth B. Sterbenz, USN

Program Manager, Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment Program

Captain Kenneth Sterbenz, a native of Westwood, New Jersey, was commissioned an ensign through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps and was designated a naval aviator in 1997.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Materials Engineering from The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, and earned his master’s degree in Business Administration from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

During Sterbenz’s operational tours, he flew with the Fighting Blacklions of Fighter Squadron (VF) 213 in NAS Oceana, Virginia, deploying twice aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in support of Operations Southern Watchand Enduring Freedom. He served as a Weapons Officer for Carrier Strike Group 12 (CSG-12) aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65); and as Operations and Maintenance Department Heads for the Blue Blasters of Fighter Attack Squadron (VFA) 34 in NAS Oceana where he deployed aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) twice, in 2006 and 2008, in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom

During ashore tours, Sterbenz returned to NAS Patuxent River, where he served at Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 as a Project Test Pilot for F/A-18 Carrier Suitability and Communication, Navigation and Identification and then Ship Suitability Department Head, where he was responsible for the development and testing of systems for the ship-based launch and recovery of aircraft. In 2011, he was designated an Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer and served as Class Desk for the Precision Strike Weapons Program Office (PMA-201) in support of the Joint Stand Off Weapon (JSOW), Harpoon and Offensive Anti-Surface Weapon (OASuW) programs. He also served at the F/A-18 & EA-18G Program Office (PMA-265) as deputy program manager for Spectrum Dominance, managing F/A-18 Hornet/Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler Radars (APG-65/73/79); Electro Optic Infrared (IRST, ATFLIR); and Electronic Attack Systems (ALQ-218, Next Generation Jammer) and as deputy program manager at the Airborne Electronic Attack Systems and EA-6B Program Office (PMA-234), where he managed the Next Generation Jammer and Advanced Electronic Attack Systems.

Sterbenz assumed responsibilities as the Program Manager for the Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment Program Office (PMA-251) in July 2018.

Sterbenz has accumulated more than 2,000 flight hours and more than 500 carrier arrestments in the F-14D Tomcat and the F/A-18A-F Hornet/Super Hornet.

His personal decorations include three Meritorious Service Medals, Air Medal (Individual with Combat Valor and five Strike/Flight awards), five Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals (one with Combat Valor), and various other personal, campaign and unit level awards.


47123 Buse Road, Bldg 2272, Rm 454
Patuxent River, MD 20670
United States


Connie Hempel