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U.S. Navy recognizes mechanical and aerospace engineering professor for research contribution

photo of a man in a white shirt standing with a man in a green shirt

Patrick Browning, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at WVU, right, receives research award from John Fiore, technical director of the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division of the United States Navy.

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A West Virginia University professor received a rare research award today (Oct.1) from the United States Navy for his contributions to a critical research effort.

Patrick Browning, assistant professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering at the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources was presented the award – given only in unique circumstances — by John Fiore, technical director of the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division.

“For the Navy, this is a big deal. It has everything to do with allowing our sailors to come home and we appreciate that,” Fiore said.

Browning, whose research focuses on Unmanned Aerial Systems and experimental aerodynamics and aero-structural design with emphasis in Micro Aerial Vehicles, used a non-traditional experimental approach to solve complex flight representation problems required to test the warfare performance fighting capabilities of ships against an advanced threat. 

“I tell my students all of the time, the folks who are working on this project, the work that we’re doing is impacting people in a real way – our men and women in uniform — not necessarily tomorrow, or next month, but eventually we’re giving them more safety out of what we’re doing,” Browning said. “So, we always keep that as our primary focus. Regardless of what’s going on, what’s critical is that taxpayer monies are going into helping us put our brains to work to help our men and women in uniform stay safe. That’s great in it of itself and this award is just the icing on the cake.”

Other mechanical and aerospace engineering faculty involved in the project include Principal Investigator and Professor Wade Huebsch, Teaching Assistant Professor Chris Griffin and Engineering Scientist Josh Bintrim. Each member of the project received a coin from Fiore on behalf of the U.S. Navy in recognition of their work.

Following the ceremony, members of the Navy and collaborating companies in attendance were given a tour of the WVU Reedsville Proving Grounds for a demonstration of the outdoor flight facility.

“This is a great achievement for us,” said Warren Boord, director for threat engineering at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division and program manager for the project. “We were able to deliver a product to the Navy when it was combined with some other things we had to do. It has been used and we have gotten some results that are very helpful to us. We appreciate the work that WVU has done.”

The details of the research project, “Characterization of Unsteady Aerodynamics for Unstable Free-Flight Bodies,” are designated For Official Use Only and are restricted.

Other organizations that have contributed to this research effort are Lockheed Martin, John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Systems Engineering Group, U.S. Naval Research Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Lab, CACI International, Naval Air Welfare Center and NavSea Warfare Center. 



CONTACT: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

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