Click here for the PDF of the article as it originally appeared in the PAE employee magazine.
PAE's interest in the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) market began with its acquisition of CSC ATD in 2013. Along with a portfolio of base operations, aviation and range support contracts, the CSC ATD acquisition included an interest in CenTauri Solutions LLC, an organization that specialized in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) solutions. Over the past four years, PAE ISR identified opportunities to provide ISR solutions to existing customers and developed a new UAS product, the Resolute Eagle.
Excelling at Performance, Capability and Cost
In early 2017, the UAS Resolute Eagle demonstrated superior technical capabilities at White Sands Missile Range, triggering its public debut and PAE's investment in additional leadership resources. During the groundbreaking demonstration, Resolute Eagle proved its ability in beyond line of sight (BLOS) operations with high definition, full motion video and sensor data. BLOS, versus line of sight, operations are important in areas where radio signals may be obscured by terrain, making communication with the UAS difficult.
Resolute Eagle has far better performance characteristics than many other Group 3 (out of five group classifications) UAS options. It carries multiple intelligence payloads, offers long endurance capability at an affordable price and is customizable to customer specifications. Resolute Eagle is runway independent, and users can rapidly deploy it to remote locations worldwide.
"While there are competitors who have built the same type of Group 3 UAS, none can match our endurance and payload capacity, which is our big differentiator in the market," said PAE ISR President Chico Moline. Resolute Eagle can travel for up to 18 hours with a maximum payload capacity of 65 pounds. Other UAS options currently in use by the U.S. government can travel from 12 to 20 hours with a maximum payload capacity of 7.5 to 10 pounds. Overall, Resolute Eagle provides an exceptional advantage between performance, capability and cost.
Resolute Eagle can be used for military and commercial applications to carry out a variety of missions.
Land and Sea-Based ISR - Resolute Eagle can provide around-the-clock imagery and sensor capabilities for worldwide combat missions, on land and at sea for the Department of Defense (DoD) and other government agencies.
Force Protection - Loitering over a location for long periods of time, Resolute Eagle can identify and locate targets with pinpoint precision, providing customers with real-time data and imagery.
Infrastructure Protection/Inspection - Resolute Eagle can inspect and monitor energy, transportation, communication and structural infrastructures for theft detection/prevention missions.
Humanitarian Assistance - Resolute Eagle can identify where humanitarian agencies can establish camps and which roads are passable for transportation/logistic operations and assesses damage from natural disasters to determine which areas require the quickest aid.
Anti-Piracy - Operating off ships and flying undetected above vessels of interest, Resolute Eagle can monitor activity and provide real-time and consistent information for international task forces carrying out counter-piracy operations.
Anti-Poaching - As a deterrent and a surveillance tool, Resolute Eagle can provide real-time electro-optical and thermal imaging to park rangers to help track and capture poachers.
Foreign Sales - As a turn-key UAS solution, Resolute Eagle is available to international customers through direct commercial sales and foreign military sales.
Increasing Abilities Narrow Competitor Pool
In June, the DoD awarded PAE ISR a position on a Navy IDIQ to provide UAS ISR services. A month later, PAE ISR won its first land-based task order worth approximately $31M. "This is a great first step, and I look forward to expanding our missions even further in the near future," said Chico. "We are pursuing several other opportunities and will have a robust pipeline in the next six months."
In addition to working with Resolute Eagle's existing capabilities, Chico is pushing his already innovative team to be visionary. "I want to have our UASs doing vertical takeoffs and landings," he said. "It will allow us to compete in the maritime market and other constrained spaces. It will also expand our footprint and narrow our competitor pool. I know our employees will get us there."
Hidden Gems Build the Future
Approximately 30 PAE ISR employees work in Sterling, Virginia, where they build the Resolute Eagles. This cohesive group combines years' of experience and dedication to produce the UASs.
"When I started in June, I realized these experienced and seasoned employees are like hidden gems," said Chico. "Giving them a voice and creating a culture of collaboration allows us to move forward as an accomplished team. PAE ISR employees believe in the product, believe in our team and believe in where we are going. I am proud to work alongside them."