William Turner Kendrick, 40, senior engineer and systems analyst in the Strategic Systems Department of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Howard County, died of cancer Friday at George Washington University Hospital.

A specialist in mechanical engineering design, Mr. Kendrick joined the laboratory in 1966. Since 1974, his work involved the analysis of equipment and techniques used to evaluate submarine-based missile systems. One of his studies on the effect of vibration on missiles led to improvements in the accuracy of certain submarine and surface ship-launched weapons.

Mr. Kendrick also participated in performance analysis of the Polaris and Poseidon submarine missile-launching systems, coordinated computer programs that processed and analyzed Navy test data and assisted in the technical evaluation of advanced submarines communication systems.

Born in Greensboro, N.C., he spent his early years in Vienna, Va. In 1962, he earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia. He earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Duke University in 1964.

Before joining the Applied Physics Laboratory, Mr. Kendrick worked for Vitro Corp. laboratories in Silver Spring for the General Dynamics Corp. in Fort Worth.

He lived in Washington and was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Survivors include his mother, Mary Turner Kendrick of Greeensboro; a sister, Dorothy K. Joyce of Stoneville, N.C., and a brother, Thomas S. Kendrick of Pompano Beach, Fla.