No one sets out to put together half a puzzle. Similarly, researchers and engineers in the defense industry want to see the whole picture – seeing their innovations make it into the hands of warfighters and commercial customers. That desire is fueling growth at BAE Systems’ FAST LabsTM research and development (R&D) organization.
BAE Systems formed its FAST Labs R&D organization with the goal of cultivating innovation and creating disruptive technology. It is unique in the defense industry because it is an in-house, customer-focused R&D organization collaborating internally across the BAE Systems enterprise to develop and evolve technologies in advanced electronics, autonomy, cyber, electromagnetic warfare, sensors and processing, and more.
Today, the FAST Labs R&D organization is a place where research teams can invent and see their work come to life. While there are many examples we cannot publicly report, word has gotten out to the research and engineering community – especially those who have grown frustrated with the traditional defense R&D process or have been working on compartmentalized projects in the industry. 
“Engineers and scientists come to BAE Systems because we offer challenging and rewarding work, where the projects they work on make a difference in the world, and their innovations don’t get tucked away on a laboratory shelf to collect dust,” said Cheryl Paradis, vice president and general manager of the BAE Systems FAST Labs R&D organization. “What really sets us apart is the opportunity we present for our team members to complete the puzzle and see their work evolve from an idea to a fielded solution.” 
The organization funds various projects through its relationships with R&D organizations within the U.S. Department of Defense, including the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Army Research Laboratory (ARL), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), and Office of Naval Research (ONR). In addition, the organization uses internal R&D investments, and seeks work with classified customers to complete its portfolio.
“Our innovations support mission success from providing operators with greater situational awareness, to enabling faster system processing, and helping warfighters make decisions," said Julia MacDonough, product line director at BAE Systems’ FAST Labs. “This technology can be found on everything from aircraft carriers and submarines to fighter jets, satellites, and handheld soldier systems. Not everyone can say that their research comes to life, but ours often does.”
The benefits of working for BAE Systems’ FAST Labs R&D organization include: 
  • Variety: With a wide diversity of R&D projects and breadth of technologies, our teams perform never-been-done-before research, and invent new technologies. Our employees stay engaged because they are constantly surrounded by a team of technical creatives, with a broad range of expertise at their fingertips.
  • Impact: FAST Labs creates technology with a purpose. Our researchers get to have a direct impact on those who protect us every day. The team takes high risks to get to high rewards, and turns breakthrough research into real-life impact. 
  • Career development: FAST Labs offers constant opportunities for mentorship and career development. In addition to the ability to regularly publish research, our employees have the chance to rotate positions in and out of the FAST Labs R&D organization. They have the opportunity to take on diverse leadership roles across the 15,000-employee Electronic Systems enterprise, and gain direct access to customers and their pain points to inform further research efforts.
  • Work environment: FAST Labs employees get the freedom to innovate as though they are part of a small startup business, but connect directly with customers like a large enterprise. This presents an opportunity to take research from the lab to the field by leveraging the company’s extensive internal and external networks. 
  • Culture and flexibility: Our culture promotes respect, learning, and offers work/life balance including remote and hybrid positions, flex time, and a 9/80 work schedule  – meaning slightly longer days, but every other Friday off.
Do you want to see your research come to life? The FAST Labs R&D organization is looking for talented scientists and engineers who want to innovate breakthroughs in autonomy, artificial intelligence, machine learning, microelectronics, lasers, and more – all with the broader purpose of protecting those who protect us. See available positions at:
FAST Labs Autonomy

FAST Labs Career Opportunities

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Nicole Gable
Nicole Gable
Media Relations
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