Through his leadership, personal dedication and superb expertise in materials engineering, Mr. George Wacker has built an exceptional laboratory capability in ship materials engineering for the U. S. Navy. Innovative materials applications developed under his leadership have substantially enhanced the effectiveness and affordability of Navy ships in a great many areas, and he has fostered many improvements in materials processes which are markedly reducing both acquisition and maintenance costs for new ships.
The strong base of materials expertise developed over many years by Mr. Wacker has produced major advances in areas such as metallic materials, advanced composite materials, welding and fabrication technology, paints and coatings, ceramics, nondestructive evaluation and testing, target strength reduction materials, radar absorbing materials, and shipboard environmental quality technology. A prime example is the development and certification of high strength, low alloy (HSLA) steels for surface ships. These steels provide dramatic improvements in weldability versus comparable strength steels, resulting in significantly reduced fabrication costs. The 80,000 psi yield strength HSLA has been used extensively in construction of the DDG-51 Class, with savings already exceeding $100 million. Developed in conjunction with Naval Sea Systems Command and Newport News Shipbuilding, the weldment system using HSLA-100, the 100,000 psi yield strength version, will be used in aircraft carrier construction. Another area of major development is composite materials and structures where advances in the design and fabrication of organic matrix composites promise significant improvement in structural performance and signature reduction of topside structures. A notable example is the Advanced Enclosed Mast Sensor System currently being tested aboard a DD-963 Class ship.
Mr. Wacker has earned a solid reputation as an enlightened manager and an innovative technical leader in the field of materials science. His superb talent for developing people has produced many world class engineers and scientists; and his cooperative approach to engineering development has fostered many international agreements, such as the latest United States initiatives in steel making technology with Japan and India.
Mr. Wacker has produced a lasting legacy in materials engineering for the U. S. Navy. He is most worthy of the Harold E. Saunders Award for 1997.