ABCANZ Visits MAST 2017

Naval allies gather at technical meeting for surface warfare technology

PORT HUENEME, Calif.—Technical project officers (TPOs) from allied navies gathered at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) to collaborate on the future of surface warfare technology research, development, testing and evaluation (RDT&E) and the data and information exchange agreements between the United States of America, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (ABCANZ), May 23-25.
The meeting was the 18th annual ABCANZ technical project officers meeting, which coincides with Department of Defense (DoD) information exchange programs by and large.

During opening remarks, Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) Major Program Manager for International Programs and Foreign Military Sales Capt. Trevor King articulated how ABCANZ was the embodiment of Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson’s fourth foundational line-of-effort in “A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority,” which is to “expand and strengthen our network of partners.”

King stated this effort underscores a key objective to prioritize and strengthen international partnerships through information sharing, interoperability initiatives, and exploring new opportunities for combined operations.

“The purpose of ABCANZ is to facilitate the exchange of R&D information between our Navies within the area of surface warfare systems technology in order to increase interoperability,” said King.

“I am pleased to say that this year’s ABCANZ focus is on the specific capability topics that were requested by the TPOs at the conclusion of last year’s meeting…and it’s my sincere hope that this week’s discussion will result in more detailed follow-on exchanges between our respective engineers and scientists—the people who are developing our future capabilities and who will benefit more than us from direct engagements at R&D exchanges,” said King.

King encouraged participants to engage the possibilities of exchange opportunities during the discussions and for the group to create action items out of those opportunities.

“I hope we can formulate a way during this meeting and make it a more fruitful agreement,” said Royal New Zealand Cmdr. Nicholas Davey. “If you look at the information exchange agreement itself, the topics that it covers are extensive and we need to just work on a bit of the methods for getting that information out … I think that the benefits to the five nations would be really good.”

Topics during the week’s discussions included methodologies for reducing crew composition; condition-based maintenance; integration of unmanned vehicles; and sustainability of combat systems synchronization.

The groups also toured major facilities at NSWC PHD, including the Surface Warfare Engineering Facility, the Littoral Combat Ship Mission Package Support Facility and the Underway Replenishment site.

NSWC PHD has continuously served a crucial role in data and information exchange agreements under major programs for DoD and U.S. allies.

By J.W. Marcum, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division – June 5, 2017