By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest

Army rapid prototyping office unveils new headquarters

The Army officially opened the new headquarters of the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) at Redstone Arsenal on September 2 with a ribbon cutting and rededication ceremony.


The move consolidates the RCCTO’s headquarters at Redstone Arsenal, marking a new chapter for the organization that is responsible for executing rapid experimental prototypes and delivering residual combat capabilities to Soldiers in the areas of hypersonics, directed energy, Counter-small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-sUAS), and other disruptive technologies.


With a backdrop of social distancing and other safety restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the ribbon cutting included a rededication of the renovated building, originally named for the late MSG Robert E. Hannaway. The building served as the schoolhouse for the Hawk Missile System, part of the arsenal’s Ordnance Missile and Munitions Center and School, where Hannaway worked as both a military and civilian instructor. The building, originally dedicated in 1988, is the first on the arsenal to be named after an enlisted Soldier.


“Today marks an important step for the future of this organization, while also remembering and honoring the tremendous history of Redstone Arsenal and this building,” said LTG L. Neil Thurgood, Director of Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition, which includes the RCCTO. “From this new headquarters, we will continue executing our rapid prototyping efforts in support of Army modernization priorities.”


The RCCTO is uniquely chartered to field rapid prototype solutions to address the nation’s highest-priority capability needs, most often in five years or less. The Army originally created the Rapid Capabilities Office in August 2016 to expedite the delivery of critical combat materiel capabilities to the warfighter to meet Combatant Commanders' needs. In December 2018, the organization’s mission was expanded and its name changed to the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office.


Currently, the RCCTO is focused on fielding the Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon prototype, which will provide residual combat capability to Soldiers by Fiscal Year (FY) 2023. It is also accelerating the development of the Army’s first combat-capable laser weapon system, known as Directed Energy-Maneuver Short Range Air Defense, which will provide a 50 kilowatt-class laser integrated on the Stryker platform to an operational unit no later than FY 2022. Most recently, the RCCTO was named the materiel and acquisition lead for the joint C-sUAS mission.


During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Dr. Bruce Jette, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, served as the keynote speaker and honored the rich legacy of acquisition at Redstone Arsenal.


"The Army has a tremendous asset in Redstone Arsenal," Jette said. "The scientists, engineers, and other professionals here at Redstone have always answered the nation's call, and they continue to play a pivotal role in Army modernization. It is an honor to participate in today’s ceremony welcoming RCCTO to this important community. I look forward to the RCCTO team delivering hypersonics, directed energy, and numerous other innovative prototypes for the defense of our nation."