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News | April 8, 2021

Department of Defense awards Land and Maritime electronics engineer for advancing resistor technology

By Michael L. Jones DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime Electronics Engineer Andrew Ernst was awarded the Department of Defense’s Defense Standardization Program Award for fiscal year 2020 for his outstanding leadership during the development of a new specification impacting bulk metal film chip resistors for high reliability and standard reliability applications. Ernst is the lead engineer for resistors at DLA Land and Maritime and completed the multi-year effort on Oct. 5, 2020.


“The dedication that Andrew showed in completing this high visibility project is a testament to his professionalism and dedication to duty. Especially when you consider his consistent coordination with other organizations across various timelines during this period of COVID,” said Eugene Williams Jr., director of Land and Maritime’s Engineering and Technical Support Directorate.


Ernst is DLA’s lead resistor expert and championed this effort from inception to the publishing of final documents. He has extensive experience and knowledge of the requirements for military specifications and led a working group that included members from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the military services, The Aerospace Corporation, Society of Automotive Engineers committee members, resistor manufacturers, and major original equipment manufacturers including Boeing and Raytheon.  He led bi-weekly conference calls, organized schedules, updated draft documents after meetings and kept the program moving.


The project grew from a request made during a May 2012 committee meeting where members expressed a desire to have bulk metal foil resistors covered in a military specification. Ernst initially conducted an engineering practice study to determine if the existing resistor chip specification could be modified to accommodate the new resistors. His study revealed that a new specification was the preferred way forward because of the differences between the current film and new foil resistor technologies.


“Customers were asking for military and space grade precision resistors that maintain their resistance values over the wide range of military temperatures,” Ernst said. “Specifically, space applications needed very reliable resistors with extremely stable resistance values because of the wide range of temperatures in space; part failure in that environment can be life threatening. Current military resistor specifications didn’t cover resistors with the precision and stability required in some of the newer military and space systems.”


External issues developed that delayed the validation work for several years. Once the project resumed in 2019 numerous coordination meetings were held. Specification sheets were created, and initial drafts were sent to the military, NASA, manufacturers and other potential users for review.  DLA’s Departmental Standardization Office granted final approval Oct. 5 and published shortly after.


Ernst’s supervisor Mike Radecki, chief of Land and Maritime’s Electronic Components Branch praised Ernst for his great work in providing military specifications for the resistors and filling the existing void in coverage for the part. “He overcame many obstacles including changes in personnel and working with the experts from widely varying time zones including Egypt and California,” Radecki added. “I believe these parts will become widely used in many military and NASA systems.”


The new resistors will provide the military services, NASA and industry with the reliable and extremely stable resistors needed for their missions and are expected to be used in numerous current and future military and NASA systems for many years. New specifications will help resistors meet the long system lives of current military and space programs without them becoming obsolete and unavailable. Some of the weapon systems the new resistors may be used for include the B-1B, EA-6B, EA-18, F-14, F-15 and F/A-18 aircraft, Seawolf class submarines, Nimitz class carriers, MH-35, H-60 Seahawk and CH-53 helicopters, select radars, and NASA satellite programs. These new resistors are also protected by trademarked branding to make them less susceptible to counterfeiting.


Conservative estimates project this new specification will result in a cost avoidance of $1.4 million annually – amounting to about $6.9 million for five years. An added benefit of this new military specification will be identifying qualified manufacturers for these resistors and improved supply chain security and availability for many years to come.