Pulse news magazine

Volume 28, February 2020

Boots on the ground

  From left to right: Andrew Hung, Paul Nuccio, and Ernesto Romero stand in front of the MQ-1C Gray Eagle while deployed with our TSP technology in 2019.

For more than half a century, BAE Systems has provided some of the most advanced signals intelligence capabilities available on the market.

Our Tactical SIGINT Payload is the latest in a family of products, providing the next generation of airborne signals intelligence fielded by the U.S. Army. Learn how one team dug deep to deploy this technology and protect those who bravely serve.

When Andrew Hung and Paul Nuccio were called to help deploy our TSP technology – an advanced sensor system capable of processing commercial and military signals from a single payload – overseas in early 2019, they didn’t think twice about the task before them. Away from their families and friends, away from their safe and familiar workspace, and away from the comforts of home, the pair would spend nearly five months living and working in the field in barracks with the U.S. Army.

With a skilled and dedicated team of BAE Systems employees supporting them from afar, Hung and Nuccio led TSP's deployment on the Army’s MQ-1C Gray Eagle, an unmanned aircraft system, in several of the military's combatant commands. According to Nuccio, a systems engineer at BAE Systems, this included consulting, training, and mentoring numerous Army personnel on how to use the system. This was a critical and necessary step for adoption, as similar technologies used in the field operate on manned aircraft with short mission times, while TSP is different in several ways. The technology goes on an unmanned aircraft, keeping a pilot out of harm’s way and allowing for maximum data collection due to its extended mission time.

For Hung, a software engineer at BAE Systems and a U.S. Army veteran who deployed in support of the global war on terror, using his expertise as an operator of TSP was a small token of appreciation for his former brothers and sisters in uniform. "Sometimes you're not able to directly help the warfighter, so whenever you get the chance to work on something that allows you to do that, you're very grateful," he said. Hung added that for many projects, deployment is not always feasible, so getting out to the field is a unique and rewarding experience.

Nuccio couldn't agree more. Having worked on the project for nearly six years before deployment, and remembering a time when its future was uncertain, he said the Army's support of the technology really carried it to the next level.

"It's very humbling to see people's acceptance of the product," he said. "Once they saw the data, and we were able to make them feel comfortable that this was going to give them a better capability, things looked up."

Now with more than 2,500 operational flight hours, the team has received praise from the U.S. Army units they've deployed with as well as some of the branch's top officials.

Both Hung and Nuccio also credit the team, including Finley Teal, Terri Heaton, Dave Wardwell, Ernesto Romero, and others for their efforts in making TSP's deployment happen. They noted quality, exceptional decision making, and engineering rigor as a few of the success factors. "Deploying the product wouldn't have been possible without the people in the factory," Nuccio said. "They brought it to the one yard line, and we brought it over to get the touchdown. They carried the ball for a long time and continue to support anything that's needed for deployment."

With Hung and Nuccio both back in the states, the team continues to support a second wave of TSP deployment, a testament to the product's unique ability to be a game-changer in the field for the U.S. Army.

By Ali Flewelling, Communications, Hudson, New Hampshire