NAWCAD Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division


Patuxent River, Maryland


Amber Geisz -

Operating Status Summer 2023:

On-site (The internship will be performed entirely at the lab)

Student Requirements:

Students must be solely U.S. citizens. (Dual citizens and permanent residents are not eligible.) They must also have a driver’s license and their own transportation to the site.


To provide research, development, test, evaluation, and sustainment for all Navy and Marine Corps aircraft and systems. We operate test ranges, test facilities, laboratories, and aircraft in support of military operations worldwide.

About the Lab

The Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) is the full-spectrum research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E), engineering, and fleet support center for air platforms. The product test areas include aircraft systems (manned and unmanned), airborne technology, propulsion, flight test and engineering, avionics design and production, crew systems and aircraft-platform interface. The most important assets are the more than 8,000 scientists and engineers (S&E's) and technicians and 15,000 acres and 7,400 square miles of test ranges housing RDT E facilities. Our unique capabilities and state-of-the-art facilities are unmatched in the world.

What is unique about this lab?

The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) is the Navy's largest warfare center and busiest flight test facility. It operates test ranges, laboratories and aircraft in support of test, evaluation, research, Development and sustainment of everything flown by the Navy and Marine Corps.

About the Internship

We are looking for motivated students with an interests in innovating, expanding knowledge and engaging in hands-on experiences in Aerodynamics, Communications, Test & Evaluations, , Material Science, Modeling & Simulation, Avionics, Sensors, Aircraft Power and Propulsion, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Cybersecruity, Warfare Analysis, Human Systems Analysis, Systems Engineering and more!

What will I do any given day as an intern at this lab?

Interns participate in lab functions in a number of ways including (but not limited to) assisting mentors with guided research projects; job and project shadowing with professional researchers; networking with STEM professionals and other interns; team and leadership development; attending technical meetings, seminars and/or conferences; group mentoring sessions; touring labs; and other professional development activities.

What majors and disciplines are a good fit for interning at this lab?

The primary fields of interest are:

  • Aeronautics
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Engineering
  • Applied
  • Physical Science
  • Physics
  • Programming
  • Robotics

What will I learn as an intern at this lab?

As part of the internship, you will get hands-on experience supporting Naval projects, experiments, test and engineering evaluations, cybersecurity assessments, STEM activities, and tool development under the guidance of experienced engineering mentors. Expert technical guidance in various technical areas such as Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Electronics, Aerodynamics, Material Science Engineering and much more.

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

The following are examples of projects to which interns may be assigned:

Acoustic Science and Technology: Ocean acoustics, physical oceanography, active and passive sonar technology, sonar processing technology, acoustic and non-acoustic sensors, microwave radar, blue-green laser radar and transduction material technology.

Advanced Aircraft Materials: Materials science engineering, hybrid materials, light weight and high strength alloys, processing science, fatigue and fracture, structure design optimization, polymer, metal and ceramic matrix-composites, intermetallics, refractory metal alloys and coatings, corrosion inhibitors, environmental/surface interactions in adhesives, sealants, elastomers, electronic materials, lubricants, nondestructive testing (for structural integrity and stealthiness), polymer chemistry, composite repair technologies, and development of smart skins and smart structures.

Advanced Processors/Computer Systems Technology: RISC and parallel computer architectures, data fusion, information storage (optical disks, semiconductor and ferroelectric memories, magnetic media, advanced recorders), Artificial Intelligence, Neural Network systems, real-time telemetry processing, symbolic computer algebra/mathematics, tools for logistic planning, flight operations aircraft servicing and reporting systems, and object oriented systems.

Aircraft Controls and Displays: Helmet mounted displays, flat panel displays, including LED, LCD, electroluminescent, plasma, field emission, and vacuum fluorescent, projection displays, etc.

Avionic Systems: Design, development and evaluation, V/STOL, RPVs, computational fluid dynamics, flight vehicle systems, digital fly-by-wire, flying qualities criteria, etc.

Fiber Optic Technology: Infrared detection and imaging systems, signal and image processing, automatic target recognition, reconnaissance sensors, LIDAR systems, hydrographic and atmospheric measurements, lasers and countermeasure systems.

Flight Control Design and Aerospace Test and Evaluation Engineering: Fluidic flight control, air frame dynamics and simulation, flight control system design and instrumentation, flying qualities analysis and simulation, fluidic control system design and test, conceptual design and evaluation of V/STOL, UAV, hypersonic, and tilt rotor, flight vehicle systems, flight testing techniques (instrumentation, simulation and support), aerodynamic and structural analysis, etc.

High Speed Fiber Optics Networks: High speed fiber optic components and networks, high speed links, optical switching and modulation techniques, nonlinear optical materials and devices.

High Strength Cables and Harnesses: Design and manufacture of cables and harnesses for aircraft flight operations and emergency landing operations at sea.

Life Support and Human Factors: Personnel in-flight and crash protection, breathing and in-flight escape systems, survival and rescue equipment, emergency locator/beacon voice radios, advanced helmet-mounted displays, man-machine interface in-flight environment, stress physiology of acceleration loads, biochemistry in stress, G-protective techniques and devices, dynamic flight simulation, aircrew visual performance, and human factor engineering.

Manufacturing Technology: Leading-edge in product design, manufacture, quality assurance through combine computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) functions, reverse engineering, electronics assembly, cable and harness fabrication, printed circuit board fabrication, hybrid microelectronics, machining, heat treatment, plating, welding, stereolithography, and computer-aided acquisition and logistics support.

Microwave Technology: Solid-state conformal radar, sea clutter, non-cooperative target recognition, MMIC, CAD/CIM/CAM, and adaptive antennas and processing.

Systems, Software, and Computer Technologies: Neural networks, fuzzy logic, case based reasoning, genetic algorithms, visual reality, robotics, design error systems, intelligent control, parallel processing, software technologies for signal processing, operating system software for real-time Mission Critical Computer Resources (MCCR), AI and expert systems, high-level specification languages for automatic code generation, software engineering environments, interface standards and software frameworks for integrating Computer-Assisted Software Engineering (CASE) tools, avionics architecture design and analysis, fault-tolerant avionics design, etc.

Weapons System Analysis, Design, Integration: Operations analysis as applied to weapon system modeling, effectiveness and survivability, system design, optimization, filtering, design studies to meet reliability and maintainability and cost targets.