NPS Distinguished Professor Emeritus Robert E. Ball of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department was honored by the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) as it renamed its award for new expertise the field the Robert E. Ball Young Professional Award for Combat Survivability, announced during the latest NDIA Aircraft Survivability Symposium at NPS, Nov. 8.
The Aircraft Survivability Division of NDIA recognized Ball as the quintessential aircraft combat survivability expert, educator and mentor to generations of military and civilian aircrew, requirements officers, scientists, engineers, designers, testers, program managers as well as senior managers and leadership in DOD aviation.
Ball developed the first-of-its-kind Aircraft Combat Survivability Course (AE3251) at NPS, which he taught. The course work went on to become the foundation for two editions of “Fundamentals of Aircraft Combat Survivability Analysis and Design,” a seminal text on the subject included in every aircraft survivability professional’s library. Ball retired from the university in November 1998.
The inaugural Robert E. Ball Award was presented to Boeing Phantom Works Engineer Laura Trench, one of five awards presented at NDIA’s annual symposium during the luncheon and award ceremony.
Also presented was the Lifetime Achievement Award to Robert Wirt, recognizing 33 years of active and civil service duty; the Rear Adm. Robert H. Gormley Leadership Award presented to Louis Colangelo, Jr., and the Award for Technical Achievement presented to Lee Venturino.
The well-attended symposium returned to NPS again, as it has for several years, considered the perfect setting to engage the full gamut of their membership, including corporate, government, academic and individual stakeholders who are part of a collaborative community who support defense and national security.
A key topic of conversation was NDIA’s recent Defense Industrial Base Study Report, released Oct. 4, providing an examination of potential gaps in the American defense industrial base. The organization is also preparing to celebrate its centennial in 2019, launching a yearlong celebration in January. Of course, at its core, the symposium serves as a forum to discuss survivability technologies, sustainment and operations across a multidomain battlespace.
“NDIA hopes the symposium fostered dialogue and networking opportunities among the event participants, so everyone from the senior-level government and industry representatives to the military and academia who attended can contribute to the main goal, to learn what is needed for the fight today and plan for the survivability challenges of tomorrow,” said Evamarie Socha, NDIA Director of Public Relations.