Please see the exciting coverage that aired on 3/28 and 3/29/2023.
Author: Hank Andrews
Verus Research Announces New Technical Director for Nuclear Test Environments
Verus Research announces the appointment of Melissa Sisneros as the company’s technical director for nuclear test environments. A major focus of Melissa’s work will be the successful fielding of the Orthrus neutron and gamma test capability on behalf of the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division.
Melissa joins Verus Research after a successful career at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) as a senior technical program manager and systems engineer supporting numerous programs, including ballistic missile tester development, integrated stockpile evaluation and surveillance, and nuclear weapon modernization programs. Melissa has also worked as a technical director and business development leader in the national security and government programs sector for Genuen, an end-to-end test solutions provider.
Verus Research Chief Operating Officer Dan Treibel noted “Melissa has extensive experience successfully developing business opportunities, as well as launching and leading programs and teams for SNL, the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense (DOD), and in multiple private sector industries. Verus Research is most fortunate to have her on our team.”
With a proven track record managing multi-year, multi-million-dollar projects for the Federal government and private industry, Melissa has supported numerous customers, including the National Nuclear Security Administration, DOE, SNL, DOD, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Air Force Test Center, Air Force Research Laboratory, Booz Allen Hamilton, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Nevada National Security Site, National Technology & Engineering Solutions of Sandia (NTESS), the Office of Secure Transportation (OST), and Intel.
“I’m grateful and humbled at the opportunity to work with these phenomenal, forward thinking, and proven experts at Verus Research,” said Melissa. “I look forward to continuing to make an impact with this trailblazing team!”
Verus Research Awarded $52 Million Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division Contract
Verus Research announces the award by the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane Division in Indiana of a $52M, 56-month effort to establish a radiation combined environments test capability. Contracted under the “Cornerstone” Other Transaction Authority (OTA), the program will design, develop, integrate, test, and deliver a combined environment test capability comprised of neutrons and gamma radiation energy.
To meet NSWC Crane’s requirements, Verus Research will develop “Orthrus,” a neutron and gamma test capability comprised of a dense plasma focus (DPF) neutron source and an electron linear accelerator gamma simulator. Under a current contract supporting the Survivability Vulnerability and Assessment Directorate at White Sands Missile Range, Verus Research is already developing the Axial Radiator for Electronics Exposure System (AREES), the only DPF capable of meeting Crane’s neutron source requirements. Under the Navy effort, Verus Research will build AREES-II as the neutron source and has teamed with Treas Engineering and Element Aero to develop a new electron linear accelerator (known as “Tempest”) capable of meeting the needs for gamma/X-ray simulation.
The need for a high-intensity, pulsed neutron source combined with a prompt ionizing radiation dose is derived from the requirement for military systems to successfully operate in the presence of nuclear weapon detonations. When integrated, AREES-II and Tempest will provide a revolutionary combined radiation test capability suitable for ensuring the survivability and operability of U.S. systems in the harshest of environments.
Dr. J. Mark DelGrande, Verus Research Chief Technology Officer, took note of the work of the “entire Verus Research team that was able to successfully propose a large and intricate hardware integration effort a totally new customer in NSWC Crane.” Dr. DelGrande went on to observe that “Verus Research demonstrated to NSWC Crane a level of technical and corporate maturity found in much larger companies, instilling confidence in the Navy and garnering one of our company’s most significant wins.”
Verus Research Wins $37.5M Contract to Enable Autonomous Multi-Satellite Systems
Verus Research has been awarded a $37.5M, 5-year contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate to develop “Tools for Enabling Autonomous Multi-satellite Systems (TEAMS).”
The effort is intended to build the necessary technology and capabilities for demonstrating autonomous, coordinated satellite operations, with a focus on quantifying the advantages of using autonomy to solve specific problems and providing the assurances to deploy the resulting solutions with confidence. The culmination of TEAMS will be a series of autonomy payloads that will integrate into an on-orbit space experiment that demonstrates a specific autonomy use case and establishes autonomy as a beneficial tool for satellite operators.
TEAMS builds upon Verus Research’s expertise in designing and verifying autonomy software, supporting satellite communications and radio frequency systems, and advancing autonomy research and testbed development. TEAMS will also leverage our existing algorithms and software to provide the enabling tools and payload for conducting a successful autonomy flight experiment.
To support the overall TEAMS program, Verus Research is proud to partner with the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque-based IDEAS Engineering & Technology, Trusted Space, Inc., and the Georgia Tech Research Corporations.
Dr. J. Mark DelGrande, Verus Research Chief Technology Officer, notes “this award reflects a purposeful and sustained Company effort to meet emerging needs for autonomy in space, resulting Verus Research becoming a cutting-edge contributor in autonomy, machine learning, and their applications in both space and terrestrial environments.”
Air Force Research Laboratory Taps Verus Research for a Large Deployable Parametric Antenna Design
The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate has awarded Verus Research a $750K, 2-year Phase II Small Business Innovative Research contract to design and develop an antenna prototype to help mitigate high energy electrons trapped in the Earth’s radiation belts using very low frequency (VLF) whistler modes. The design will be suitable for space flight.
Under this program, Verus Research has teamed with LoadPath, a wholly owned business unit of Redwire Corporation, and Georgia Tech Research Corporation to meet AFRL’s needs and continue Verus Research’s original research in the development of a large deployable parametric antenna capable of remediating the Van Allen Belts after a high-altitude nuclear event. Several key technologies will be matured in this effort, including a large (10-meter radius), space-deployable hoop antenna, a high power very low frequency resonant drive, and a novel plasma density wave source.
U.S. Navy Awards New Plasma Switch Work to Verus Research
The U.S. Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) office has awarded a $1.2M, 18-month Phase II Small Business Innovative Research contract to Verus Research to enable the development of compact and inexpensive, plasma-based, widely-tunable frequency impedance elements (a.k.a. plasma switches and antennas).
The effort will produce articles capable of sustained high-power operation in contested and denied electromagnetic environments by maturing Verus Research’s novel designs for a sub-10 nanosecond microwave broadband limiter-switch. Deliverables include an environmentally qualified prototype.
Verus Research Renews Key Directed Energy Test Support of the Air Force Research Laboratory
Under the rubric of “High Power Electromagnetics (HPEM) Empirical Effects” support, Verus Research has been awarded a competitively selected $19.5M, 5-year effort aimed at advancing the understanding and quantifying of HPEM effects on behalf of the Air Force Research Laboratory Directed Energy Directorate.
The effort includes the performance of indoor and outdoor effects tests to generate vulnerability data on electronic systems to determine the effectiveness of different HPEM waveform parameters. The goal is to identify waveforms and the systems that generate them that meet effectiveness requirements while also adhering to size, weight, and power constraints.
In addition, Verus Research will study fundamental effects mechanisms, supporting the development of techniques and models to predict the effectiveness of HPEM waveforms which will augment empirical testing and modeling.
Naval Air Warfare Center Chooses Verus Research for New Test System
The Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC) at Patuxent River, Maryland, in conjunction with the Naval Research Laboratory NRL), has awarded Verus Research a $4.7M, 2-year contract to design, develop, and integrate an ultra-wideband (UWB) high-power microwave test and evaluation (T&E) system.
This program was originally scoped to deliver only an antenna array capable of accepting the output from NRL’s Time Reversal Pulse Compression (TRPC) Cavity Oscillator and broadcasting power at the tens of megawatts level across a bandwidth of almost 6 gigahertz. This objective capitalized on a novel antenna design developed by Dr. Sameer Hemmady, Verus Research Senior Director of Advanced Concepts.
Upon further consideration, though, the NRL added additional scope and funding to the effort such that Verus Research will now also perform the full integration of the T&E source which is projected to support NAWC testing requirements at MIL-STD-464 levels for 10 years.
Verus Research Capitalizes on Research Success for DARPA
Following a competitive selection process, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded Verus Research a $2.2M, 2-year follow-on contract for the Waveform Agile RF Directed ENergy (WARDEN) project.
The DARPA WARDEN program is advancing the state of the art on extreme power, broadband amplifiers and agile waveform techniques to improve electromagnetic coupling and disruptive effects on targeted electronics, extending the range of high-power microwave systems by a factor of 10 beyond current technologies.
Under the first phase of this program, Verus Research developed and adopted a scientific process for designing agile waveforms that exploit fundamental vulnerabilities in the physics-based engineering design rules of electronic targets. This process established a robust predictive capability that can be applied across a multitude of electronic targets
In the newly awarded second phase, Verus Research will refine and augment our susceptibility characterization techniques and agile waveform prescriptions to exploit engineering design vulnerabilities in a broader set of integrated targets.
Dr. J. Mark DelGrande, Verus Research Chief Technology Officer, said this new effort “continues to solidify Verus Research’s recognized excellence in radio frequency effects and the understanding of their underlying mechanisms to benefit national defense objectives.”
Verus Research Books Two More Delivery Orders in the Test & Evaluation Non-Kinetic (TEN-K) Family of Programs
Verus Research has been awarded over $40M in new contracts supporting two efforts under the auspices of the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation.
The first, a 42-month, $25.3M program, will build on existing Verus Research deuterium-based dense plasma focus technology (DPF) to deliver a tritium-based test capability to White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). Verus Research will design, build, and do factory acceptance testing at our Albuquerque laboratory and then transport the tritium-based DPF components to WSMR for final installation and acceptance testing. When operational, this new DPF system will close a national capability gap in ultra-short pulse neutron testing.
One of the longest running programs at Verus Research, DPF is also one of the Company’s most complex technical endeavors. As noted by Dr. J. Mark DelGrande, Verus Research Chief Technology Officer, DPF “is a superb example of state-of-the art in science and engineering coming together to advance technologies by providing analysis, design, development, integration, and test for the aerospace and defense community.”
On the second program, Verus Research will work under a 60-month, $16.5M contract called the “Agile Sources Advancement Program” (ASAP) to meet the needs of the Department of Defense Test Resource Management Center. ASAP centers on the design, modeling, assessment, and capability development of non-kinetic systems and diagnostics. The effort includes injecting added agility into the nation’s test and evaluation capabilities to address rapidly emerging requirements.
Features of the work will include, among other technical areas, airborne and ground-based surrogate high-power microwave (HPM) systems, airborne and ground-based HPM instrumentation testing capabilities, and customized HPM measurement technologies to address ever expanding frequency ranges. Dr. DelGrande noted “these tasks derive from our previous research efforts and are a testament to the viability of an ‘acorns to oaks’ approach where small ideas can become major programs.”