Pulse news magazine

Volume 31, December 2020

The Beacon: Standing together behind our service members

John Watkins, ES Vice President of Precision Strike & Sensing Solutions

Every once in a while, you bring two teams together, and the result is pure harmony.

In the case of our latest acquisition, Navigation & Sensor Systems (formerly Military Global Positioning Systems), this was clear from the moment we first interacted. I remember touring the engineering and manufacturing sites in Iowa in early 2020 with some members of our leadership team. During the visit we were able to get a firsthand look not only at the incredible technology the team was developing, but the pride they felt in the work they were doing for our nation and its warfighters.

One topic that came up time and again that day was the integrated GPS anti-jam system for one of their key programs. The team emphasized how important it was, the sweat and dedication they had poured into it, and the critical edge it provided to our service members. As we finished our tours and were getting ready to leave for the day, I remember looking at Greg Wild, now NSS product line director. I said to him, “If there is one thing we aren’t going to do during this acquisition process, it’s spoil that program.” And what did I mean by that? We recognized the ‘special sauce’ this team had worked hard to create, and we wanted to preserve that. In that moment, Greg looked at me with a grin, and we knew we were on the same page. Amid all the complex negotiations and financial conversations, one focus trumped all: the warfighter.

What sets the NSS team apart, aside from their patriotism, is the resilience of their products. As environments become more contested and the peer-to-peer ‘cat and mouse’ game increasingly more intricate, the ability to withstand harsh conditions and counteract evolving, multi-faceted threats will be vital. The team’s advanced electronic designs are not only exquisite, but highly producible. By applying meticulous design rules, in only a few months the team has delivered more than 30,000 units since joining the BAE Systems family – a key discriminator in a fast-moving industry that relies on high volume. There is also significant opportunity to leverage these same design rules and processes within not only our Precision Strike business, but across the BAE Systems enterprise to enhance scalability.

When we went on that facility tour, we instantly understood the value of this team and the advanced technology they offer, which you’ll learn more about later in this issue. With NSS’ resilient navigation capabilities and Electronic Systems’ existing alternative navigation techniques such as within the precision guidance product line, I’m confident these combined approaches will result in even stronger solutions for our military. I’m excited for the possibilities that lie ahead for our company, and the customers we proudly serve.

By John Watkins, Vice President of Precision Strike & Sensing Solutions
With Kelly Hussey, Communications, Hudson, New Hampshire