The first Repair Technology Exercise (REPTX) successfully brought together over sixty technology innovators to help expand the US Navy’s ability to perform expeditionary maintenance operations.
NCMS assisted the Navy with identifying and vetting industry and academic participants to demonstrate and evaluate the viability and efficacy of products and services that support the Navy’s sustainment capabilities. From August 22 through September 2, technology innovators tested their products’ capacity to tackle real-world fleet maintenance challenges, including assessing and repairing potential battle damage aboard the Navy’s Self Defense Test Ship, an asset of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) in Port Hueneme, CA.
“In my 28 years as a Marine officer, with many of those years involved in logistics innovation, I have never seen nor participated in an event like REPTX,” said Howard Marotto, Additive Manufacturing Business Director, EWI, and Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. “The number of companies, particularly small businesses and entrepreneurs, brought together and given the opportunity to demonstrate their capability on an actual Navy asset was ground-breaking.”
REPTX participants addressed four focus areas: visualization, command and control aids, forward manufacturing, and expeditionary maintenance. Visualization refers to dynamic inspection methods that enable a ship to see itself and the world around it, above and below the water line. Command and control aids help naval commanders make rapid, data-driven decisions and real-time situational assessments. Forward manufacturing hubs, such as additive manufacturing or 3D printing systems, reduce ships’ reliance on long-distance supply chains, increasing readiness in theater. Expeditionary maintenance refers to the Navy’s ability to perform maintenance operations and battle damage assessment and repair while a ship is forward-deployed.
“As a small business, rubbing shoulders with large organizations will no doubt create some future collaborations,” said Javid Vahid, PE, of Edlore, Inc., one of the participating companies. “More importantly, validating our capabilities makes me very proud. We were able to create a 3D rendering from a napkin drawing in 3 hours and make it useful to the Navy.”
Howie Marotto observed, “Many partnerships were forged, and the teamwork and camaraderie among the participants, encouraged by the leadership of NAVSEA and NCMS, were evident throughout the event. Spontaneous cooperation among companies, some even competitors, is not something I have ever witnessed at the scale I saw at REPTX.”
REPTX was part of the broader Advanced Naval Technology Exercise-Coastal Trident 2022 (running from June to September), which NSWC PHD organizes and aims to bolster port and maritime security through field experiments involving emerging technologies and training events with law enforcement and other first responders.
“As a Reservist and leader in a manufacturing R&D non-profit attending REPTX, I think it is clear that the Department of the Navy needs to do more events like REPTX to be more agile and competitive in the future fight,” said Marotto. “Continuing efforts like REPTX will be essential as the Navy looks to build a more resilient and sustainable Fleet and innovative and responsive supply chain.”
For more information about REPTX, including a gallery of photos that document the activities, please visit www.ncms.org/events/2022-reptx.