Naval Surface Warfare Center/Panama City

Naval Surface Warfare Center (Panama City, FL)

Only U.S. citizens will be considered for positions at this lab. No Dual Citizens will be considered for this facility.

NSWC PC is the U.S. Navy’s premier research and development organization focused on littoral warfare and expeditionary warfare. It is the principal repository of the national expertise in these areas that are absolutely critical to the future of Navy and Marine Corps operations. This expertise is based upon a diverse technical workforce.

A unique feature of NSWC PC that is unduplicated in the United States is the natural operating environment provided by the ready access to the Gulf of Mexico and its associated littoral and coastal regions. It is this characteristic, coupled with the synergistic nature of the organization  mission areas, that sets NSWC Panama City apart from other R&D activities. The Gulf of Mexico provides a surrogate environment for most of the littoral areas of the world in which the Navy will find itself operating for the foreseeable future.  


  • Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare - Improve the Navy's and Marine Corps' ability to project power ashore by means of amphibious operations. The NSWC PC is the national authority on air-cushion vehicle technology and application, and the interface of these vehicles with the Navy’s amphibious ships. It maintains strong capabilities in research, engineering, technical direction, management and life support for the amphibious warfare, U.S. Marine Corps, and Strategic Sealift systems.
  • Coastal Operations - The NSWC PC is the national center of expertise for coastal operations. The technologies, systems and equipment developed in support of the Navy needs are applicable in many cases to the solution of non-DOD type problems. The Coastal Operations mission focuses on the transfer of this knowledge and technology base to the solution of problems encountered by local, state, industrial and non-DOD organizations.
  • Diving, Life Support and Damage Control Systems - Coupled with the tenant commands of the Experimental Diving Unit and the Diving and Salvage Training Center, NSWC PC represents the national center of expertise for military diving. This team addresses all aspects of dive-system development, test and evaluation, and training. The technologies and techniques associated with diving systems have been successfully applied to a variety of non-diving life support systems such as fire-fighting breathing apparatus.
  • Mine Warfare - The NSWC PC is the recognized world leader in mine countermeasure and mine systems. It is the repository of the Nation’s mine warfare expertise. As such, the NSWC PC maintains a robust spectrum of efforts in research & development, test & evaluation, and in-fleet support of naval airborne, surface, and shallow-water mine countermeasures systems and naval sea mine systems. It is the champion for the transition to organic mine countermeasures. The expertise of the NSWC PC in this critical warfare area is unequalled.
  • Naval Special Warfare - The NSWC PC is the Navy’s lead laboratory for the research and development of special operations systems with an emphasis on mobility platforms that support the Fleet operator.
  • Littoral Science and Technology - Under the sponsorship of the Office of Naval Research, NSWC PC maintains a robust science and technology program relative to the littoral environment. Technology developments focus in the areas of autonomous systems, advanced acoustic, magnetic and electro-optic sensors, modeling and simulation, digital visualizations, signal processing, life support and manned diving, air cushion vehicle design, and ancillary equipment for support of military sealift operations.


            Autonomous and Unmanned Systems

            Expeditionary Warfare Testbed

            Landing Craft, Air Cushion Systems

            Littoral Warfare Collaboration Environment Lab

            Remote Minehunting System

            Swimmer Delivery Vehicle

            Underwater Breathing Apparatus

            Systems Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis


Sensing Technologies:  Basic and applied research in acoustic, electromagnetic, and electro-optic sensing technologies as well as in signal and digital image processing.  This includes modeling/predictions of physical phenomena in underwater and airborne environments, experimental/theoretical characterization of sensors and targets, development of prototype sensors/instrumentation to support experiments and validate models and system concepts, development of image processing techniques for Automated Target Recognition, development of in-situ and post mission analysis tools supporting multi-sensor fusion and co-registration techniques, and implementation of advanced processing algorithms in embedded real-time hardware.

Hydromechanics: Dynamics and interaction of single and multiple vehicles, both towed and free-swimming; prediction of nonlinear hydrodynamic forces and moments using rational and analytical methods; dynamic and control of cable-body systems; wake generation and evolution of three-dimensional turbulent wakes partially bounded by a free surface.

Control Systems: Autonomous navigation, guidance, and control of unmanned vehicles; system identification software to implement standard parameter estimation methods; extended kalman filter for design and analysis of multi sensor navigation systems; high speed/parallel processing architectures and algorithms.

Automated Target Recognition (ATR): Computer assisted detection/classification algorithm development; advanced neural network design and neural network architecture/training optimization; morphologically based image processing; image compression/storage/display; high speed/parallel processing architectures and algorithms; automated algorithm development. Emphasis is placed on signals and images collected using sonars, optical sensors, and magnetic sensors.

Unmanned Systems Technology:  Basic and applied research with application to air, land, sea surface, and sub-sea surface unmanned vehicles operating in a wide variety of coastal environments, communication links to single and multiple vehicles, navigation, guidance and control, cooperative behaviors, optimal path planning, common control standards, multi-sensor payloads, autonomous launch and recovery, and automated tools to reduce sailor workload.

Applied Engineering:  Mechanical, electrical, electronics, computer, software and systems engineering to support developmental and in-service programs in mine warfare, expeditionary warfare, naval special warfare and diving; operational field testing and evaluation; modeling and simulation 

Life Sciences:  Behavioral studies in support of human factors analysis of military divers and diving equipment

Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis (MSA) supports requirements analysis, concept selection, concept development, systems engineering and integration, tactics development, certification, training, and sustainment in multiple warfare areas including mine and expeditionary maneuver warfare.


NEDU is an RDT&E facility collocated with the NSWC PC.  It is a field activity of the Office of the Director of Ocean Engineering, Supervisor of Salvage and Diving.  NEDU has long had a historical role in the development and testing of diving and decompression procedures for the US military and other national diving organizations.  NEDU tests and evaluates diving life support systems such as scuba regulators, rebreathers, and surface-supplied diving equipment.  NEDU has a cadre of military and civilian engineers, scientists and physicians dedicated to enhancing the safety and capability of divers.  Primary customers are the Navy SEAL and EOD community, and diving salvage community.

NEDU is unique to the Panama City area due to its charter to conduct biomedical research, and to conduct diving accident investigations.  Furthermore, all diving equipment being considered for Authorization for Military Use must be tested and recommended by NEDU.  That selection process usually begins with unmanned testing, followed by manned testing in a test pool, or in the Ocean Simulation Facility, a national asset, certified to 2,250 feet of seawater (1000 psi).  Simulation and modeling is occasionally the beginning of the equipment selection process, and is sometimes used to explain anomalous equipment of physiological events.

Current Research interests are as follows:

  • Physiological effects of combined breathing resistance and inhaled carbon dioxide on diver tolerance to UBA.
  • Human tolerance to prolonged immersions and oxygen breathing, exploring basic mechaniisms of human performance.
  • Development of decompression tables to support diving operations.
  • Enhancing performance of UBA.
  • Development and testing of novel sensors for UBA
  • Investigating new means of providing thermal protection for divers.
  • Procedures and equipment to help ensure chemically safe diving atmospheres and gases.