NSWC Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head

Operating Status Summer 2023:


Student Requirements:



Provide research, development, test and evaluation, analysis, acquisition support, in-service engineering, logistics and integration of surface and undersea vehicles and associated systems. Develop and apply science and technology associated with naval architecture and marine engineering and provide support to the maritime industry. Execute other responsibilities as assigned by the Commander, Naval Surface Warfare Center.

About the Lab

NSWC Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head (NSWC Indian Head) brings together the DoD’s largest full-spectrum facility for energetics – explosives, propellants, pyrotechnics, reactive materials, related chemicals and fuels used in ordnance and propulsion systems –with the largest concentration of EOD technology resources in the world. NSWC Indian Head’s main site is a 1,900-acre peninsula along the Potomac River in Indian Head, Md.

What kinds of projects do interns at this lab participate in?

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) Department: The RDT&E department serves as a principal agent for maintaining the DoD’s energetics research, development, and test and evaluation technology base. The department carries out multidisciplinary research programs with the objective of discovering and exploiting new and novel materials for high-energy material applications, the generation of new concepts associated with the behavior, and the development of advanced components based on these new and improved materials and concepts. The research department also has the infrastructure and technology to additively manufacture (AM) new products with novel materials.

Energetics Manufacturing Department: The command’s Energetics Management department is the Navy’s sole provider of Cartridge Actuated Devices/Propellant Actuated Devices (CAD/PAD) used in aircraft ejection systems, emergency escape mechanisms, and other critical equipment utilized by the warfighter. The department also has the ability to quickly manufacture additive manufacturing prototype tooling and equipment. The Energetics Management department is the sole manufacturer and provider of Otto Fuel II: a liquid torpedo monopropellant. The command’s facilities allow for the manufacturing of up to 250,000 pounds of Otto Fuel II annually for delivery to the U.S. Navy and its allies.

Expeditionary Warfare—Rapid Response: Proven Solutions. Focused on agility, maneuverability, individual weapons, munitions and technical training, NSWC Crane Expeditionary Warfare Center equips the most elite warriors for the combat environment. Expeditionary Warfare supports military forces engaged in Special Operations, Irregular Warfare and Riverine Operations. With more than 1 million square feet of offices and laboratories, the Expeditionary Warfare Center provides a distinct advantage in sensors and communications, mobility and maneuverability, and special munitions and weapons.

Systems Engineering Department: The Systems Engineering department is the principal agent for the application of energetics to meet fleet needs and missions. The department plans and executes the application of energetics from the earliest stage of acquisition development through actual item fielding, in-service, logistic, quality evaluation and final demilitarization phases. They maintain the core technical capabilities of energetic applications through expertise areas in warheads, propulsion, fuzing, energetic materials and safety, modeling and energetic-to-electronic interfaces for the Navy’s missiles, torpedoes and gun systems. They use high-fidelity testing surrogate simulation tools to model underwater, air and buried blast explosion phenomena and target response to accelerate development and reduce costs, while guiding weapons development and systems survivability.

Systems Integration Department: NSWC Indian Head’s Systems Integration department performs research, development and acquisition of guns and ammunition to include supporting system design and procurement; installation; in-service trouble shooting; and life-cycle support for minor, medium and major caliber guns and ammunition. The department is also the Navy’s lead for the research, development and acquisition of weapons and armaments packaging, handling, storage and transportation (PHST) systems for all naval ordnance.

EOD Department: The NSWC IHEODTD EOD department is the home of the Joint Service EOD Technology Program and works to provide Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen with the information and technological solutions they need to detect/locate, access, identify, render safe, recover/exploit and dispose of both conventional and unconventional explosive threats. The department develops EOD knowledge, tools and equipment, including life-cycle support and provides these to the combatant commanders, interagency partners and the broader EOD community.