Article Published: May 4, 2017
Article Published: May 4, 2017
When Navmar Applied Sciences Corporation (NASC) needed a location for its new manufacturing facility to produce Unmanned Air Systems, Regional Vice President Russ Corrente chose the defense and technology hub of Johnstown. The NASC Johnstown Production and Manufacturing Facility (NASC-JST) was established in February 2010 and a team of skilled engineers and operators delivered the first Class 3 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) three months later. NASC-JST soon earned AS9001C and ISO9001-2008 certifications and a reputation for quality and on-time delivery.
Corrente is proud of their state-of-the-art production facility and diverse capabilities, stating “We established the facility to manufacture UAVs for the Department of Defense, however our proficiencies in composite, wood, and metal fabrication and electro-mechanical assemblies are broadly applicable outside of the defense and aerospace markets. Specifically, our AS9001C certification and quality focus are discriminators for niche performance sectors like the motorsport industry.”
NASC is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business that has provided engineering and technical services in support of the Department of Defense and commercial industry since 1977. Initially focused on highly specialized acoustics engineering services, NASC’s capabilities gradually expanded to include avionics, air vehicles, sensors, electro-optics, satellite communications, RF datalinks, prototyping, and systems integration.
NASC-JST is the original equipment manufacturer of the TigerShark, a Class 3 fixed wing UAV, and several variants. They have delivered more than 170 aircraft to the US Navy, including associated ground control stations, support equipment, storage/shipping containers and transportation.
These mid-sized UAVs, with a 22-foot wing span and maximum 12-hour flight endurance, have flown more than 70,000 flight hours in support of global combat missions. NASC-JST also provides continued maintenance, repair and logistics support for these fielded systems.
NASC-JST is currently developing a more cost effective TigerShark aimed at the growing commercial UAV market. They recently manufactured the ArcticShark, the first UAV designed specifically for extreme cold weather to conduct research for the Department of Energy in Alaska. A related initiative is focused on the design and production of an innovative internal combustion engine. “We are weeks away from our first production prototype that will deliver improved fuel efficiency and increased power output,” noted Robert Semelsberger, lead engineer on the effort. “This will give our UAV platforms a competitive edge.”
In addition to their own internal research and development projects, NASC-JST also collaborates with academia and small start-ups to support next generation UAV prototyping and full-scale manufacturing, specifically for fixed wing designs. “We welcome partnerships with others,” said Corrente. “We have the knowledge, capability, and capacity to accelerate the efforts of other UAV innovators. Ideally, we become their go-to fabricators while our partners benefit from our design and operational experience.”
NASC’s manufacturing capability in Johnstown is complemented by their UAV flight testing and training programs across the US. The latest initiative for NASC-JST is their Aerial Systems Environmental Testing and Engineering Facility at the Altoona-Blair County Airport in Martinsburg, PA. Here, NASC Engineers perform simulated testing of payloads and related systems in active environments prior to integration onto a manned or unmanned aircraft.
“We want to avoid costly incidents where an untested payload damages or destroys an aircraft in-flight,” said Corrente. “This payload testing capability gives customers realistic flight performance data which is essential prior to integrating the sensor onto an aircraft.” NASC-JST is optimistic about the new test site, anticipating increased potential to support university research and commercial initiatives focused on UAV applications in agriculture, energy, mapping, emergency services and infrastructure.