Sandia LabNews

New Northrop Grumman, GE umbrella CRADAs tap wide range of Sandia expertise


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Sandia has signed a pair of CRADAs with Northrop Grumman Information Systems and General Electric Global Research that could broadly add to the Labs’ research into such fields as combustion, defense systems, and nuclear security.

Sandia has signed a pair of cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) that could broadly add to the Labs’ research into such fields as combustion, defense systems, and nuclear security.

The umbrella CRADAs, which cover multiple projects in a variety of categories, are with Northrop Grumman Information Systems and General Electric Global Research.

“These are strategic agreements envisioning long-term partnerships,” says Brooke Garcia (10012), who helped negotiate them. 

Sandia has had a standard CRADA, which covers a specific scope of work, with Northrop Grumman Information Systems since 2007. And the Labs has existing CRADAs with the company’s Aerospace Systems and Electronic Systems divisions.

“Northrop Grumman is a longtime Sandia partner,” Brooke says.

The new Information Systems CRADA is an umbrella covering a wide range of potential research designed to enhance defense systems technologies through collaborative R&D in engineering sciences, modeling and simulation, intelligence systems, and infrastructure and nuclear security, and by evaluating energy and climate factors domestically and abroad. The agreement says the primary goal of the collaboration is to improve national security.

“The collaboration so far has been extremely successful,” says Alex Tappan (2554), principal member of Sandia’s R&D staff who has done Northrop Grumman project work.

Potential research categories included in the CRADA are engineering sciences for defense systems and technologies; modeling and simulation for defense systems and technology; intelligence systems and assessments; energy, climate and infrastructure security; international, homeland, and nuclear security; and advanced manufacturing and technology maturation.

“Northrop Grumman looks forward to many collaborative opportunities and a long and productive working relationship with Sandia,” says Eric Sepp, a Northrop Grumman program manager.

The GE agreement replaces a decade-old umbrella CRADA that expired last year. “Rather than extend the old one, we took the opportunity to negotiate an updated agreement that supports current missions as well as mutual goals for future innovation,” Brooke says.

The agreement states that Sandia and GE will “cooperatively engage in analytical studies, research, and development of a diverse set of energy-related topics with a goal of accelerating the understanding and development of new energy systems required to transition away from a hydrocarbon based economy to carbon-neutral energy sources.”

The scope of the partnership encompasses a variety of technical categories including combustion; thermal management; aerodynamics; systems engineering, economic, and life-cycle analyses; computational simulations; energy storage; sensors and optical diagnostics; fossil energy; renewable energy; nuclear energy; and advanced materials.

Sandia supports DOE research and development aimed at moving the US toward a new energy economy, Brooke says. The Labs’ goal is to ensure a secure and sustainable energy supply, safe and resilient delivery infrastructure, and clean and efficient use of energy resources.

The agreement says Sandia and GE as partners can leverage the Labs’ expertise in systems-based science and engineering with GE’s skill in energy systems to accelerate understanding and development of new energy systems. GE brings to the collaboration a business-driven perspective to evaluate the likelihood of success or failure of energy alternatives.

“Sandia’s robust and broad-based energy program includes a multitude of innovative research and development programs that can be leveraged in pursuit of the goals of the nation and GE,” the agreement says.