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Dynetics Technical Solutions Wins Army Priority Strategic Hypersonics Program

Dynetics Technical Solutions has been awarded a $351.6 million contract to produce Common-Hypersonic Glide Body prototypes. DTS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Huntsville-based Dynetics,

Under an Other Transaction Agreement contract, over a three-year agreement period, DTS will produce 20 glide body assemblies for use by the Army, Navy and the Missile Defense Agency, with an option for additional quantities.   DTS will collaborate with Sandia National Laboratories for development and production of the glide body.

The glide body will be a part of an integrated Army hypersonic weapon system prototype that will deliver residual combat capability to soldiers by 2023.

“We are honored to be selected for this high priority national security program,” said DTS President Steve Cook. “Dynetics has been developing enabling technologies for many years. The common hypersonic glide body is a vital component in the National Defense Strategy that includes weapons with increased power.

“Our team is pleased the Army saw that our highly-skilled engineers and technicians can bring this technology rapidly and affordably to the warfighter.”

As the prime contractor for the C-HGB, DTS will provide program and supplier management; procurement; assembly, integration and testing; electrical and mechanical manufacturing; and systems engineering for the C-HGB.

DTS will lead that includes General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems, Lockheed Martin and Raythe0n. They will complete the assembly, integration and test at their North Alabama locations.

“We have selected a strong team with varying skillsets to help the U.S. counter the threat from Russian and Chinese advances in hypersonic weapons,” Cook said. “Each of these companies will bring decades of experience and will join science and technological capabilities to make a modern prototype and eventually become a program of record.”

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems will provide cable, electrical and mechanical manufacturing.  The company will provide engineering, program management, and production support from their Huntsville, San Diego and Tupelo, Miss., locations.

“We’re excited to be part of the Dynetics team, as C-HGB begins its transition from laboratory to production, and ultimately into field operations,” stated Scott Forney, president of General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems.  “We look forward to applying our extensive experience in manufacturing complex systems and leveraging our longstanding relationship with the national laboratories to expedite the delivery of this strategically important capability.”

Lockheed Martin will support in manufacturing, assembly, integration, test, systems engineering and analysis.  Lockheed Martin will conduct this work at their Alabama, Colorado and California facilities, respectively.

“Lockheed Martin is privileged to team with Dynetics to collaboratively build the nation’s next hypersonic glide body prototype,” said Eric Scherff, vice president for Hypersonic Strike Programs for Lockheed Martin Space. “We are proud to partner on this incredible team working toward transforming research and technology into the next generation weapon system for the warfighter.”

As a principal subcontractor on this program, Raytheon will use its extensive experience in advanced hypersonic technology to build and deliver the control, actuation and power-conditioning subassemblies that control flight of the new common hypersonic glide body. The company will also help assemble and test the new glide body.

“Raytheon is working closely with Dynetics and its industry partners to quickly field the hypersonic weapon and provide our nation’s military with the tools it needs to stay ahead of the escalating threat,” said Dr. Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. “The development of hypersonic weapons is a priority for our country, and we are aggressively working to produce offensive and defensive solutions.”

Separately, DTS has been selected by Lockheed Martin to be a part of the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LHRW) systems integration contract also led by the U.S. Army’s RCCTO. The LHRW program will introduce a new class of ultrafast, maneuverable, long-range missiles that can launch from ground platforms. The LRHW prototype includes the new C-HGB, an existing, refurbished trailer and truck to be modified as a new launcher, and an existing Army command and control system.

DTS will develop launchers with hydraulics, outriggers, power generation and distribution for the ground platform. The company will also provide flight test and training support.

DTS will now support both hypersonic efforts and, collectively, these awards will total $407.6 million for the corporation.

Pruning Cummings Research Park Infuses Vibrancy, Marketability

Any good gardener knows a first-class park requires long-term planning and seasonal pruning to ensure its vibrancy.

In 1962, Teledyne Brown Engineering (then Brown Engineering) lay deep roots on 100 acres off a dirt road that later became Sparkman Drive.

IBM, Lockheed Martin, Northrop-Grumman, and the University of Alabama-Huntsville quickly followed. Since then, Cummings Research Park’s 3,843 acres of prime Huntsville real estate has been a focal point of a 50-year master plan.

Cummings Research Park, with a 92 percent occupancy rate and 240 untouched acres to spare, is the second-largest research park in the nation and fourth largest in the world.

But to better understand the growth strategy at work in the park, it is best to differentiate between Research Park East and Research Park West.

“When we talk about current growth, we mean business growth from companies within the park, especially on the west side,” said Erin Koshut, the executive director of Cummings Research Park. “On the east side, market studies show we need to redevelop that area to create greater density and to replace 1960s and 1970s buildings with properties that align with today’s economy. That will infuse the older section with new vibrancy.

“By doing that, we won’t have to look at physical land expansion per se for a very long time.”

Within the master plan are five-year work plans. The city is currently working off a plan finalized in 2016; a new plan begins in 2021. The plan acknowledges that some of the original buildings and key properties in the oldest sections of Research Park East are no longer viable in the market.

“Without the revitalization, if a company wants to go in and invest in that part of the park, they wouldn’t get their return on investment,” said Koshut. “That is why the zoning ordinances were changed for Research Park East – to give back some of the land to the park and to reduce economic setbacks.”

Cummings Research Park East

Rendering of Bradford Crossing

One such property is at Bradford and Wynn drives on the former site of the St. John Paul II Catholic High School. Driven Capital Partners in California purchased the four-acre site and plans to redevelop it into a mixed-use site called Bradford Crossing.

“Article 55 of the new zoning ordinance is very specific and says if you have a retail element on the ground floor, there has to be two or more uses,” said Koshut. “We cannot build a standalone gas station or drop a superstore in there, but a multistory building with ground floor retail will create density on a small but efficient parcel of land.

“No decision has been made on what other uses will be included, but it could be office space, multi-family residences, a hotel, or a mixture of all three on upper floors.”

There are four big red circles marking areas of Cummings Research Park East targeted for potential mixed-use redevelopment. Currently, no groundbreaking date is set for Bradford Crossing.

“This is not just the (Huntsville-Madison County) Chamber or the city calling for these changes,” said Koshut. “We have landowners like the Olin King family at Crown Leasing who own property on Bradford Drive. They demolished the building that was on it and now have the land for sale. Business and landowners understand the flavor of changes happening in the older section of the park.”

Other planned redevelopments include converting Executive Plaza off Sparkman Drive into a multi-use facility, including an arena for the UAH hockey team and convocations; and Huntsville’s plans to donate up to $1.8 million in land to Alabama’s third magnet school, the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering. It has a temporary home at the Tom Bevill Center on UAH’s campus, but plans are to build a permanent location in Cummings Research Park East by 2022.

“This will give the whole park along the outskirts of UAH, a big infusion of vibrancy and marketability,” said Koshut.

Cummings Research Park West

The new Radiance Technologies facility will consolidate operations and employees.

Over in Cummings Research Park West, it is not about redevelopment but about taking what is there, making it better, and expanding the footprint. In fact, Cummings Research Park West will see three major projects and numerous moderate but significant business expansions this year.

By the end of the year, Radiance Technologies will be moving into a 100,000-square-foot facility at 310 Bob Heath Drive. The new facility will consolidate operations and employees, but with significant growth, Radiance will keep its 38,000-square-foot facility on Wynn Drive in Cummings Research Park East for a while.

The new $45.5 million, 83,000-square-foot BAE Systems building is sprouting from a 20-acre site at Old Madison Pike and Jan Davis Drive. It is scheduled to open in 2020.

The $45.5 million, 83,000-square-foot BAE Systems building is scheduled to open next year.

“BAE Systems has a long history with Huntsville dating back many years when they had only a couple of employees,” said Koshut. “We are proud to see them bringing in 200 employees, many new hires, and some recruited to Huntsville from the Northeast.”

Fifty-four-foot walls are up around the $200 million Blue Origin rocket engine production facility on Explorer Drive. Expected to open its doors in March 2020, Blue Origin is estimated to bring up to 300 jobs to the local economy.

Dynetics just expanded its footprint with the 78,000 square-foot Dr. Stephen M. Gilbert Advanced Manufacturing Facility; and IronMountain Solutions found a new home on Voyager Way.

“We have the first apartments, Watermark at Bridge Street Town Centre, built in Research Park,” said Koshut. “They consist of two four-story buildings and 240 apartments. Over half already leased before they open and of course a majority of those people work in Research Park.”

She said they would like to see an extension of Bridge Street Town Centre or at least retail that is congruent to Bridge Street grow into the commercial retail corridor between Bridge Street’s outdoor shopping promenade and Lake 4.

It’s All for the Employees

“There is a key component of all this expansion and redevelopment,” said Koshut. “It is driven by the wants and needs of employees.

“These companies want to recruit top talent to Huntsville, and they want to retain them. They require conveniences, activities, and amenities that have been available to them in cities where they are recruited from, many bigger than Huntsville.”

This includes access luxury apartments and single-family homes in or surrounding the park; creating a sense of vibrancy and community with activities such as the Food Truck Fest that draws some 300 people a month; free monthly happy hours in the park; and free Suzy’s Pops or Steel City Pops during the summer.

Later this summer or early fall, Koshut said the city will launch a pilot Bike Share project in Cummings Research Park West with three bike-share stations.

“As the city continues to invest in that program, we hope to connect many bike-share systems across the city so, at any time, an employee can hop on a bike and ride out to lunch,” said Koshut. “Young people enjoy being outside and easily get tired of being stuck in an office all day. Huntsville companies are recruiting people from cities that offer a quality lifestyle amenity.”

So, as new buildings are sprouting up all over Cumming Research Park, it always helps to keep the park neatly clipped and pruned to inspire growth and opportunities among the older, well-established buildings alongside the new and flourishing.

Dynetics Technical Solutions Adding Hemisphere’s Largest Electron Beam Welding System

Big things are happening for Dynetics Technical Solutions.

In fact, some of the largest things in the world are happening for the Huntsville company.

Executives from Dynetics and Pro-Beam signed the electron beam welding system agreement in Burg, Germany. (Dynetics Photo)

Dynetics Technical Solutions recently signed an agreement with Pro-Beam to acquire the largest electron beam welding system in the Western hemisphere. The 22 feet long, 22 feet wide and 22 feet high system will be capable of supporting government and commercial programs at both the unclassified and classified levels.

“This unique welding facility will establish North Alabama as the U.S. leader in advanced electron beam welding for aerospace, defense and commercial sectors,” said Steve Cook, DTS president.  “We are proud to partner with Pro-Beam and our customers to bring this revolutionary capability to bear on programs of national importance.”

Pro-Beam partners with international high-tech companies to provide precision welding and mass production of components. DTS officials said Pro-Beam’s electron beam welding capabilities provided the type of product they needed.

“Pro-Beam is extremely pleased to partner with Dynetics, and excited to be part of this great project that will provide the largest and most modern electron beam welding system for the U.S. market,” said Rod Mourad, president of Pro-Beam USA. “This installation will provide Dynetics with electron beam welding capabilities of large structures that are essential for the U.S. market needs.”

The system includes a large vacuum chamber and an 80 kilovolt/40 kilowatt power supply capable of welding high strength/high temperature alloys up to four inches thick in a single pass, said DTS manufacturing division manager Bob Meadows.

“It is equipped with a five-axis robotic positioner and automatic seam tracing software providing the ability to weld complex shapes quickly and precisely,” he said. “The system will be an essential addition to our precision machining and fabrication center.”

Dynetics Technical Solutions has also acquired a smaller system from Pro-Beam, which will be operational in October. The larger system will be delivered from Germany and installed in 2020. Both systems will be located at the company’s Huntsville headquarters.

Dynetics Teams with Maxar, NASA for Lunar Gateway

The United States is formulating plans to return to the moon by 2024 within the framework of the Artemis program — 55 years after NASA landed a man on the lunar surface during the Apollo days — but this time the mission is much different.

This time, NASA plans to put the first woman on the moon upon the return. This time, the country doesn’t plan to explore the Earth’s satellite and its mysteries and simply return home. This time, the goal is to establish a lunar presence with an eye already cast toward flights to Mars.

David King, CEO of Dynetics, and Mike Gold, vice president of civil space at Maxar Technologies, sign “Powering Lunar Exploration”‘ teaming agreement. (Eric Schultz/Huntsville Business Journal)

“NASA is going back to the moon and is committed to doing so by 2024,” said Mike Gold, vice president of civil space at Colorado-based Maxar Technologies. “The program is aptly called Artemis, because we are going to make history by this small step being a giant leap by putting the first woman on the surface moon.”

In Greek mythology, Artemis is the daughter of Zeus and twin sister of Apollo. She is the goddess of the hunt and the moon.

“… this time we’re going back to the surface of the moon to stay,” said Gold. “Which is why NASA is building the Gateway.”

The Gateway project is an arm of Artemis. Gateway is a space station that will orbit the moon.

Gold recently joined political representatives and administrators from Maxar, NASA, Marshall Space Flight Center and Huntsville’s Dynetics at the latter’s campus on the western edge of the city for a press conference celebrating a “teaming agreement”’ between Maxar, Dynetics and NASA to develop Gateway.

NASA awarded Maxar a contract to spearhead the development of power and propulsion elements (PPE), which is the foundation of Gateway and spacecraft that will carry Americans back to the moon and beyond. While Maxar is a leading company in space technology, the company needed experienced partners in space travel and Dynetics was a fit to help get Americans eventually to Mars.

In a press release, Dynetics billed itself a responsive, cost-effective engineering and scientific firm with 2,000 employees providing IT solutions to national security, cybersecurity, space and critical infrastructure sections.

The Artemis/Gateway playbook calls for the country to put astronauts back on the moon in 2024, to establish a sustained human presence on and around the moon by 2028 and then prepare for missions to Mars.

Dynetics will provide support for the power and propulsion element and will aid establishment of a sustainable presence on the moon.

Huntsville, long conjoined with space exploration, will once again take on a large role in the process.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle relayed a message through Harrison Diamond, business relations officer for the city, in honor of the “teaming agreement” signing between Gold and Dynetics CEO David King.

“He said it’s a wonderful thing to say you can’t get to the moon without going through Huntsville first,” Diamond said. “And eventually to Mars.”

Dynetics Opens State-of-the-art Manufacturing Facility

Dynetics expanded its footprint in Cumming Research Park Thursday with the opening of the Dr. Stephen M. Gilbert Advanced Manufacturing Facility.

The 78,000 square-foot manufacturing and assembly facility is named for one of the company’s co-founders. 

The state-of-the-art Gilbert Advanced Manufacturing Facility joins a Solutions Complex and the Dynetics Technical Solutions headquarters as the sixth building on the sprawling Dynetics campus. The new high mix/low volume production area is expected to hire more than 200 employees.

“We kept hearing that there was not a one-stop-shop where a project could be designed, prototyped and manufactured,” said Dynetics CEO David King. “We decided to put our mark on this ability … we are now able to accept the challenge from concept analysis and development through testing and production.”

The new facility offers five major production areas.

The first is a family of reconfigurable, short and long-range surveillance sensors for real-time situational awareness of critical infrastructure known as GroundAware.

In the automotive configuration and test equipment area, customers can develop vehicle testers and ship them to vehicle plants where they can be configured to test the electronics in a variety of vehicular models as they progress down the assembly lines.

New electronics manufacturingcapabilities will improve efficiency and cut by weeks, the production time a suite of avionics products and printed circuit boards can be built.

Additionally, skilled technicians and engineers can provide and test cable harness solutionsfor aerospace and defense partners; and in the final product assembly of large and small systems area, Dynetics can now bring together electrical and mechanical components, and build complete systems in a single production area. 

The expanded manufacturing capabilities will increase current production volume while also offering classified manufacturing; and government and industry customers can now complete final assembly and test for a wide variety of Dynetics products from small system components to full weapon systems. 

“I am incredibly proud of our team for having the foresight to create a facility that will be unique and adaptable to our customers’ needs,” said King. “For years, we have wanted to fill a manufacturing niche where we can provide a smaller quantity of products while getting them into market in an efficient manner.

“Once we knew that we could provide a different level of service, we seized the opportunity. Our customers have been seeking this capability and Dynetics is glad to offer it.”