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Coordinates: 38°35′18″N 77°10′09″W / 38.58833°N 77.16917°W / 38.58833; -77.16917

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division (NSWC IHD) is a United States naval military installation located in Charles County, Maryland.

As a Department of Defense (DoD) Energetics Center, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division is a critical component of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Warfare Center (WFC) Enterprise. One of the WFC's nine Divisions, Indian Head’s mission is to research, develop, test, evaluate, and produce energetics and energetic systems for US fighting forces.

Energetics are explosives, propellants, pyrotechnics, reactive materials, related chemicals and fuels and their application in propulsion systems and ordnance.

As the largest DoD full spectrum energetics facility and leader in the Navy’s energetics enterprise, NSWC Indian Head employs a workforce of more than 1,400, of which more than 850 are scientists, engineers, and technicians dedicated to developing and sustaining explosives, propellants, pyrotechnics, high-energy chemicals and their application to warfighting systems. In addition, NSWC Indian Head has the largest concentration of PhDs working in Energetics in the WFC, including the highest number of synthesis chemists, detonation physicists, and formulation scientists dedicated to the energetics National competency.

The Division’s unique synergy and balanced capabilities address all aspects of the Energetics technical discipline, including basic research, applied technology, technology demonstration, prototyping, engineering development, acquisition, low-rate production, in-service engineering/mishaps and failure investigations, surveillance, and demilitarization.

If the military experience problems with current weapon systems, or encounter new threats on the battlefield, Indian Head Division collaborates and provides the appropriate solution. As the Navy’s lead technical authority in the U.S., NSWC Indian Head performs over 60% of all Navy energetics workload, and has an unmatched record of 13 Navy-qualified explosives transitioned into 47 Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps weapons. Seventy-five percent of all explosives deployed in US weapons were developed by NSWC Indian Head.

One of ten divisions of the NAVSEA Warfare Center Enterprise, the main site for NSWC IHD is located at Naval Support Facility Indian Head, a 3,500-acre peninsula along the Potomac River in Southern Maryland. It also maintain operations in McAlester, OK; Colts Neck, NJ; Ogden, UT; Louisville, KY; and Picatinny, NJ. NSWC IHD has the largest US workforce in the DoD dedicated to energetics.


  • Energetic Systems Research Development Test& Evaluation (RDT&E), Acquisition Engineering (AE), In-Service Engineering (ISE) and Sustainment
  • Energetic Systems and Material Scale-up, Manufacture and Manufacturing Technology
  • Cartridge Actuated Devices, Cutters, Sounding and Specialty Devices RDT&E, AE, ISE, Sustainment, and Manufacturing
  • Weapon Simulators, Trainers, Training, Test and Diagnostic Equipment RDT&E, AE, ISE, and Sustainment
  • Energetic Safety, Environmental Technology, Logistics, and PHST (Packaging, Handling, Storage and Transportation) RDT&E, AE, ISE and Sustainment
  • Conventional Ammunition Engineering and Sustainment
  • Gun Systems ISE, T&E, and Integrated Logistics Support (ILS )

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