The Sound of Freedom: Naval Weapons Technology at Dahlgren, Virginia 1918-2006

The Sound of Freedom: Naval Weapons Technology at Dahlgren, Virginia 1918-2006
The Sound of Freedom: Naval Weapons Technology at Dahlgren, Virginia 1918-2006
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This book tells the story of one part of the Navy's research and development effort. Rooted in tradition and heritage traced directly back to the first efforts of Lieutenant Dahlgren to improve the scientific study of ordnance and naval weapons technology, our facility on the shores of the Potomac River started life at the end of the First World War, when the Navy needed a longer testing range than the existing facility at Indian Head, Maryland. Every major naval gun and every lot of ammunition had to be tested, not only to guarantee safety, but also to calculate the ballistic data necessary to ensure accuracy in fire control. The Naval Proving Ground at Dahlgren, Virginia, first known as the "Lower Station" of the Indian Head facility, soon expanded its mission area into other technologies such as aerial bombing and formally separated from Indian Head in 1932. Many of the types of research here were far ahead of their time. We see this in the previously little-known story of the attempt to develop automatic and remote-controlled aircraft that could serve as weapons, forerunners of modern missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Often the work at Dahlgren was highly secret, and only in later years could the details be released, as with the development of the Norden bombsight. Other once-classified stories, such as the development and testing of proximity fuzes, the ballistic experiments conducted on early scale models of the "Little Boy" atomic bomb, the ballistic experiments conducted on its later derivative, the "Light-Case" ground penetrator bomb, and Dahlgren's movement into the fields of computing technology and systems engineering, spell out the important role in the nation's defense that the station has played over the years.

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Naval historians, military historians, students studying the history of the military and/or weapons technology, members of the military (especially the Navy), members of government and policymakers, and members of the general public who want to understand the history of Naval research and development up until the present will find this publication useful.

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Defense Dept., Navy, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division
  • Rife, James P.
ISBN 0-16-077712-7
Key Phrases:
  • NSWCDD MP 06 46
  • Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division 06 46
  • Naval Weapons Technology at Dahlgren, Virginia, 1918-2006
  • Naval History
  • Weapons
  • Military History
  • Sound of Freedom
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