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Barry Willhite

Mr. Barry Willhite is the Flight Systems Chief Engineer at the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs (SSP). In this role, he provides executive leadership for all aspects of the acquisition and sustainment of flight subsystems for all current and future generations of the Fleet Ballistic Missile strategic weapon system (SWS). This includes the missile, guidance, and reentry SWS subsystems.

Additionally, Mr. Willhite is the technical authority for SWS flight subsystems including lifecycle ownership of requirements and system architecture. He leads the team of Navy technical subject matter experts (SMEs) responsible for developing, producing, deploying, and sustaining the TRIDENT II (D5) Life Extension (LE) and Life Extension 2 (LE2) missiles, and the MK4, MK5 and MK7 Reentry Bodies. Mr. Willhite is also SSP’s Designated SME for Inertial Instruments.

Prior to his current role, Mr. Willhite was Guidance Section Head for SSP’s Fire Control and Guidance Branch where he provided technical and program leadership of engineering, acquisition, and sustainment of the guidance subsystem of the SWS. His other SSP assignments include serving as the Deputy Section Head for Missile Engineering (2006-2008); Guidance Inertial Instruments Lead (2008-2011); and Guidance Production Lead (2014-2017). From 2011-2014 he taught Aerospace Engineering at the United States Naval Academy (USNA).

Before joining SSP in 2006, Mr. Willhite served in the U.S. Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer (SWO). He served as the Strike Warfare Officer aboard USS ARLEIGH BURKE (DDG 51) and was responsible for the employment of the Tomahawk Weapons System and the division of technicians who maintained and operated it. Following retirement, Mr. Willhite transitioned to the Navy Reserve where he serves as a Captain and the officer-in-charge of 45 Reserve Engineering Duty Officers whose work supports the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and SSP.

Mr. Willhite holds a Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from USNA. He is a member of the Acquisition Corps and holds DAWIA certifications in Program Management (Advanced) and Engineering Technical Management (Practitioner) from the Defense Acquisition University.


Last Updated: 24 April 2024


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