USACE delivers battery testing facility to NSWC Crane

USACE - Louisville District
Published July 28, 2022
Updated: July 28, 2022

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District and Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane celebrated the delivery of the Submarine Battery Evaluation Center during a ribbon cutting ceremony July 21, 2022, in Crane, Indiana. The test facility will provide full-scale submarine battery and energy storage testing and modeling capabilities unique to the Navy. The outcome of the testing will improve the Navy's ability to predict, control and mitigate low-capacity batteries.

"Completion of the SUBBEC facility illustrates Naval Sea Systems Command’s ongoing commitment to operating world class laboratory facilities and represents a quantum leap in our submarine battery test facilities by providing a unique capability to operate a complete submarine main storage battery in a lab environment," said U.S. Navy Capt. Garrett Burkholder, program manager, Strategic and Attack Submarines.

After construction began in October 2020, USACE encountered the major challenge of building the facility while keeping the current lab operational. The first part of the multi-faceted solution required relocating a portion of the existing lab space to allow for heating and air-conditioning modification and testing as well as ground and floor preparation.

The next step required creating an elevated work platform to separate the construction from the operation lab. Approval of the platform required evaluating the construction plans, risk assessment and collaboration between USACE construction division safety and engineering and the NSWC Crane fire department and facilities team.

“I directly attribute success on this project to a collaborative effort between USACE’s Construction Division and installation partners to creatively implement a scaffolding resolution that enabled the building occupants to continue working in a safe lab environment performing mission critical lab work, while also allowing the construction contractor to safely install the mechanical systems,” said Jay Fowler, area engineer, Scott Area Office. “This innovative solution saved time to deliver the project on schedule by allowing multiple trades to work simultaneously versus working solely by manlifts or having to isolate activities.”

The facility will undergo verification and validation in fall 2022 with testing of real fleet applications scheduled for spring 2023.