WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 82 SEAPOWER / APRIL 2014
The Naval Surface Warfare Center
(NSWC) Carderock, Md., Division
opened its upgraded maneuvering
and seakeeping basin (MASK)
facility Dec. 19. The 360-foot long,
240-foot wide facility holds
approximately 12 million gallons
of water and is used to evaluate the
maneuverability, stability and control of scale ship models.
During the six-year, $24.8 million
upgrade, NSWC Carderock replaced
the original wave-making system,
made up of 21 pneumatic wave-making domes, with 216 individually controlled electromechanical wave boards — essentially 10-foot-tall by 2-
foot-wide paddles with a curved corner — to significantly improve the ability to create a precise wave environment. The new finger-style technology allows the Navy
to create extreme, realistic ocean environments. Scale-model ships up to 30 feet in length can be tested in the
MASK basin to help predict the full-scale performance of
ships in the open ocean.
The MASK facility was built in 1962 and the system had
last been upgraded in 1984. NSWC Carderock began
solicitation for the upgrade in 2005 and chose a design by
Edinburgh Designs Ltd., Edinburgh, Scotland, with MAR
Inc., Rockville, Md., as prime contractor. The team began
work in 2007 with Atlantic Industrial Technologies, Shirley, N.Y., fabricating the major components; Intelligent
Controls and Power Reliability Systems, Saco, Maine,
demolishing the existing equipment and installing the
new wave maker; and McLaren Engineering, Baltimore,
providing the concrete structural design. Construction
commenced in early 2013, and the mechanical portion of
the renovation was completed Aug. 16. Model testing was
expected to begin again in the facility this spring.
Jon Etxegoien is head of the NSWC Carderock Naval
Architecture and Engineering Department.
We’ve been using the wave
maker for about four
months or so. Before using it for
testing purposes, we need to
become thoroughly familiar with
understanding how the system
works by conducting shakedown
runs, failure analysis, training how
to use it, that sort of thing.
Any time you have a new, complex system, and this is extremely
complex, there is a lot of work that
needs to be done before we can
start putting models in the water.
We are preparing for testing the
DDG 1000. We have developed a
brand new model with a brand new
data collection and tracking system for the DDG 1000.
You couldn’t go forward with the DDG 1000 testing
without doing the calibration testing on the wave maker.
The third 46th-scale test of the DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer has the new wave maker basin booked
through the end of the fiscal year, so through September
it’s DDG 1000 all the way and we will have to squeeze in
whatever other testing we can around the DDG 1000 test
schedule. We have done testing in the waters off Key
West and in the Chesapeake Bay with the large 20th-
scale model of the DDG, but because you cannot control
the sea state out in nature we will get most of the data we
need here between now and the end of the fiscal year.
If you think about the old system, it was 21 pneumatic domes, so the resolution, this is 216 versus 21.
They were air driven and it was air being pushed down
into the dome. The air was a mess, if you ran it for long
periods of time the air would heat up, then you get a
damping difference and then you’re creating a different
wave. You might get exactly what you want for a few
minutes, but then something would change.
I really commend the guys who were able to create
with the pneumatic wave maker what we needed,
which is far less than what this is capable of, but they
were able to do it for many years. It got to the point
where it was sort of an art, you had three or four people who could do it, but that was it.
You’ve basically got pneumatic wave makers, finger-style wave makers and plunge-style wave makers.
After Upgrade, MASK Basin
Making Waves at NSWC Carderock