News | Oct 2, 2019

This startup is partnering with the US Navy to deal with homemade bombs

Non-destructive safing critical for EOD safety, transportation, and forensic analysis of explosive devices

News Article Image of This startup is partnering with the US Navy to deal with homemade bombs

Whether in a bomb suit or piloting a robot, U.S. Navy EODs are qualified to use the most advanced tools to protect civilians and colleagues.

DoD photo

Grey Ops, a Maryland startup, is partnering with the U.S. Navy to help explosive ordnance disposal soldiers to safely bring explosives from the field to the lab.

In a new public-private partnership announced Wednesday with the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head, Maryland, Grey Ops will act as the distributor of a liquid safing product called Silent Spring.

When poured onto a bomb or improvised explosive device, the viscous Silent Spring coats and desensitizes the primary explosives, preparing it for transport to a safe location for disassembly and forensic analysis.

“It decreases the risk for civilian and military operators who have to deal with these terrible weapons on a day-to-day basis,” said Grey Ops’ CEO Steve Luginbill. “And it does so without affecting the composition of the primary explosive, which is important for determining where it came from.”

Silent Spring was first developed in 2015 at the Navy warfare center, which supports the military’s EOD community through research and development projects.

To maintain stringent quality control, which is necessary for the EOD community’s safety standards, the Navy will stay involved in Silent Spring’s production, with Grey Ops handling packaging and order fulfillment.

“This partnership will provide the first responder community access to this unique technology, and reduce the hazards faced by EOD personnel during explosive neutralization and removal activities,” said Capt. Scott Kraft, commanding officer of the Navy warfare center.

The agreement is authorized under a federal law known as “Centers of Industrial and Technical Excellence,” which allows the Navy to foster cooperation with private industry and leverage private sector investment in the promotion of commercial business ventures at the center.

It’s an example of technology transfer by another name, said Brian Metzger, senior technology manager at TechLink, a Department of Defense partnership intermediary founded in 1999 to help U.S. businesses access DOD research. Metzger advised Grey Ops on licensing the Navy’s patent on Silent Spring.

“The Navy center at Indian Head has the experience and facilities to scale the formula for initial production quantities. The commercial partner can leverage this capability today and focus efforts on the packaging, distribution, and service rather than investing starting capital into their own manufacturing plant,” Metzger said.