Penn State's ARL earns Navy research contract worth as much as $2.1 billion

March 01, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The U.S. Navy has awarded the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) at Penn State the largest research contract in the University’s history – worth as much as $2.1 billion over 10 years – to conduct research and development to improve U.S. national security.

ARL at Penn State is one of fourteen Department of Defense (DoD) University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) laboratories that have long-term strategic relationships with the DoD and are considered trusted agents. These affiliated research centers provide essential research capabilities, develop new technology for national security applications, and provide unbiased technical advice to the DoD and other federal agencies.

“I am proud of the research performed at ARL and I am looking forward to their continued contributions to our national security.  I’d like to thank the Department of Defense, U.S. Navy, and all of our national security research sponsors for their investment in Penn State, its students, faculty and all those involved in this growing partnership.  Under this new agreement, ARL scientists and engineers will expand their vital role developing research that advances science and promotes national security,” said Neil Sharkey, Penn State vice president for research.

According to Paul Sullivan, director of ARL, “This contract demonstrates the great positive impact that Penn State research has on our nation and the world through the breadth and depth of our programs in engineering, technology, and applied science.  From the deepest part of the ocean to satellites in geosynchronous orbit, ARL provides leading edge technologies.”

ARL supports national security, economic competitiveness, and quality of life through education, scientific discovery, technology demonstration, and successful transition to application. Since its establishment in 1945, ARL has made significant contributions to the present state of knowledge in its basic core mission areas.  “Since our founding, ARL has been a leader in the development of critical science and engineering for our nation” said Allan Sonsteby, ARL deputy director.

ARL is a key developer of guidance and control technologies for undersea systems and vehicles, accomplishes prototyping of novel power and energy systems, and performs state of the art research in the area of computational fluid dynamics. ARL is leading research programs in the areas of communications, information processing, cybersecurity, electro-optics, directed energy and operates the Navigation Research and Development Center for the test and evaluation of our nations most precise positioning, navigation, and timing systems. ARL is a center of excellence in materials and manufacturing and supports both industry and the U.S. Navy with advanced materials and development of additive manufacturing technologies.

“I am extremely proud of the technologies developed by the men and women of ARL.  ARL science and engineering contributes to the security of our nation, increasing the economic competitiveness of the country, and helping to educate our future engineering workforce,” Sullivan said. “The role of ARL and the other UARCs will be increasingly important as our nation’s adversaries become more technologically advanced and as our military strives to become more efficient and cost effective.”

The contract will be administered by the Naval Sea Systems Command, which engineers, builds, buys and maintains the Navy's ships and submarines and their combat systems.

Established at Penn State in 1945, ARL, which reports to the Office of the Vice President for Research, is the largest research unit at Penn State.

ARL employs a staff of about 1,300 including research faculty, engineers, staff and students. ARL has made important contributions to the university’s educational mission by providing approximately 250 students annually with valuable work experience, helping to encourage and shape the students’ careers in science and engineering.

Last Updated March 01, 2018