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Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock Division marked the opening of the maneuvering and seakeeping basin (MASK) facility, with a ribbon cutting ceremony, Dec. 19.The 360-foot long and 240 foot-wide facility holds approximately 12 million gallons of water and is used to evaluate the maneuverability, stability and control of scale models.

“As I marvel at this triumph of naval engineering and naval architecture, it is gratifying to see that once again the Navy is demonstrating its long term commitment to science, engineering and innovation,” said keynote speaker, Dr. John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). “For more than 100 years, the men and women of Carderock have served the Navy, the Marine Corps and our nation in a truly impressive variety of important technical capacities ranging from understanding the intricacies of designing advanced surface ships, to reducing the signatures of submarines, to developing environmentally friendly systems for the Navy across the board.”

Carderock built the MASK in 1962 to test the scale model performance of ships, platforms and moored systems in realistic sea conditions. During the six-year upgrade, Carderock replaced the original pneumatic wave-making system in the MASK with 216 individually-controlled electro-mechanical wave-boards that significantly enhance the capability to create a precise wave environment. The new finger-style technology, demonstrated during the ceremony, provides the Navy with an unprecedented capability to create extreme, realistic ocean environments inside of the facility. Scale models up to 30 feet in length can be tested in the MASK in order to predict the full-scale performance of ships in the open ocean.

“All day, every day, our Sailors and Marines are answering the call – protecting American interests, responding to crises – and most importantly, deterring and if necessary, winning wars,” said Rear Adm. Larry Creevy, commander, NSWC. “This kind of capability demands our Sailors and Marines have platforms and systems that are built and ready for any eventuality on land, in the air, on and under the world’s oceans. What people may not know is that the concept design, development, modeling, testing and delivery of this kind of capability started years ago, sometimes decades ago, in facilities like the MASK.”

“[The Wavemaker Modernization team] have led by example, working around difficult budget times, furloughs, and constantly adjusting work schedules in support of this critical Navy ship and ship systems testing facility upgrade, while maintaining the same high level of service to which their customers are accustomed,” said Capt. Richard Blank, commander, NSWC Carderock Division. “It’s that sort of effort and dedication to NAVSEA and the NSWC Carderock team that allows our technical expertise to continually flourish for our Navy, for our nation.”

NSWC Carderock, a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command, and a part of the science and engineering enterprise, leads the Navy in hull, mechanical and electrical engineering. Headquartered in West Bethesda, Md., NSWC Carderock employs approximately 3,600 scientists, engineers, technicians and support personnel and includes the Ship Systems Engineering Station located in Philadelphia as well as detachments in Norfolk, Va., Cape Canaveral, Fl., Andros Island, Bahamas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Memphis, Tenn., Bangor, Wash., Ketchikan, Alaska and Bayview, Idaho.