NAWCWD Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division


Point Mugu, California


Alan Vannevel -
Phone: 760-939-1440
Angel Zamarron -

Operating Status Summer 2023:


Student Requirements:

Students must be solely U.S. citizens or permanent residents. (Permanent residents and dual citizens are not eligible.) Students must have their own transportation to the site. The ability to be granted a security clearance is also highly desired.


To execute full-spectrum weapons and warfare systems Research, Development, Acquisition, Test, and Evaluation (RDAT&E) Through:

  • Recruiting, developing, and retaining a relevant, qualified workforce
  • Developing, maintaining, and operating our unique cross-domain space, land, air and sea range, and laboratory capabilities
  • Partnering with industry, academia, DoD, and international communities
  • Stewardship of our natural resources and environment

About the Lab

The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) is the principal Navy research, development, test, and evaluation center for air warfare systems (except antisubmarine warfare systems) and missile weapon systems. NAWCWPNS employs 5,200 civilian and 200 military personnel, 2,500 of whom are scientists and engineers. NAWCWD scientists and engineers pursue research and development ranging from very basic, academic style research to prototyping and demonstration projects. NAWCWD scientists and engineers work in a variety of areas that include: platform integration, survivability, lethality, electronic warfare, energetics, modeling and simulation, guidance and control, autonomy, test and evaluation, assured communications, Hypersonic / Counter Hypersonic Weapons, Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Defense, Directed Energy / Counter Directed Energy, Intelligent Autonomous Systems, Quantum Sciences.

What is unique about this lab?

NAWCWD boasts a variety of state-of-the-art and one-of-a-kind laboratories and facilities that enable us to deliver unparalleled weapons research, development, acquisition, test, and evaluation for our nation's warfighters, and we offer 24/7 warfighter support to ensure the on-the-ground service member has the support they need to defend our nation at home and at sea.

About the Internship

NAWCWD is looking for high school students who wish to have the opportunity to work on challenging projects and contribute to the Navy mission while expanding their knowledge and experience in a variety of scientific and engineering fields.

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 other interns and STEM professionals; touring labs; participating at outreach events; and other professional development activities.


The primary subjects of interest include:

  • Aeronautics
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Programming
  • Robotics
  • Statistics and Probability

What will I learn as an intern at this lab?

SEAP participants will learn how to understand and interpret system requirements and develop the ability to translate those to scientific and engineering efforts that can satisfy those requirements. Students will also be challenged to develop skills to document and communicate the technical information and approaches to a variety of audiences with different levels of technical acumen.

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

Cyberwarfare: This project was designed to lay the background work for future projects in the area of cyber warfare. For this project, the focus was on commercially available software being used to exploit security lapses. All of the programs used were freeware and were run as either source code or as executable/binary files. These programs provided the following uses: denial of service, SSL stripping, network monitoring, and wireless encryption cracking. The project began by researching the C# programming language and developing a GUI chat program that could be run from computer to computer. This program was used for sending plain text messages and for transferring files across the network. Once this simple tool was developed, the network testing started to take shape, first over a wired lan (local area network) connection and eventually with wireless lan.

Radar development: The purpose of this research was to find an equivalent monostatic angle that will give us the same change in range as a bistatic radar. Bistatic radar has two different antennas: one antenna receives a signal and the other transmits a signal. Monostatic radar has collated receiving and transmitting antennas and it is preferred over bistatic radar because it usually gives us a better image and it is also easier to operate. However, bistatic radar has its advantages especially in military situations. Since the transmitter and receiver antennas are not collated, during combat or any other hostile situation, the transmitter can be moved to avoid being hit while the receiver can stay close-by undetected and collect the necessary data.

Forever chemical analysis: Per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) remediation is a major Department of Defense environmental problem and there are concerns that current thermal destruction processes are not completely destroying the PFAS, or during the thermal destruction process, a more toxic degradant product is being formed. A method of identifying and distinguishing PFAS and their degradation products will be developed using pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry (Pyro-GC/MS) and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC/MS). Pyro-GC/MS will examine the changes and destruction of PFAS, both sourced from aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) as well as polymeric PFAS found in munitions such as MTV, at varying temperatures from 100 °C to 1300 °C, mimicking both open burns and oven based thermal destruction processes. This anaerobic technique will pyrolyze PFAS species and then separate out the degradant products by gas chromatography for analysis by the mass spectrometer. Major decomposition products, rates of decomposition, and temperature of decomposition will be characterized by the Pyro-GC/MS. Residues left behind from the Pyro-GC/MS will be analyzed by LC/MS which will examine the pyrolysis and degradation efficiency at corresponding temperatures and how matrices effect the thermal destruction process.

Optical Sciences: Optical properties of solids, optical coatings, ellipsometry, optical scattering, laser effects, surface finishing, optical metrology.

Electro-optical Technology: Sensors and seekers, laser dyes, charge coupled devices, compact laser devices.

Electronics: Microelectronics, compound semiconductors, FPGA's, and SoC.

Microwave Technology: Sea scatter, target modeling, inverse scattering, automatic target identification, microwave materials, electronic warfare, missile seekers, one dimensional and synthetic aperture radars, superdirective superconductive antenna components.

Applied Mechanics: Detonation physics, warhead dynamics, damage mechanisms and theory, internal explosions.

Propulsion Technology: Combustion of propellants, deflagration to detonation transition, combustion instability, fuels and propellant ingredient synthesis, acoustic turbulence/combustion interactions, electromagnetic propulsion, ramjet propulsion.

Energetic Materials: Fuels, explosives, polynitrogen compounds, explosives formulation, propellant components.

Chemistry: Instrumental analysis, electrochemistry, organic and inorganic chemistry, applied spectroscopy, synthesis, and biofuels.

Material Science: Organic & inorganic films for electronic and optical applications, nano-powders, Langmuir-Blodgett films, organic-matrix structural & energetic composites, ceramics, coatings & adhesives, metallurgy, corrosion, IR-transparent materials.

Targeting Technology: RF, IR, laser sensors, multisensor fusion, automatic target recognition.

Human Factors: Multisensor targeting, man-machine interface, decision aiding.

Embedded Computing: Simulation and modeling, domain analysis and software reuse, fuzzy logic, software testing and reliability.

Millimeter Wave Solid State Technology: Device and circuits development for high power solid state transmitters and active aperture-phased array radars combining quasi-optical power.