Surely, when someone says “Charleston, South Carolina”, the words “home to some of the nation’s leading defense manufacturers, innovators and engineers” are not what comes to mind. That is, however, just what Charleston, South Carolina is, a home of some of the nation’s top leading manufacturers of defense utilities for the United States Military and Armed Forces. With cutting-edge companies such as Force Protection, Inc. and SAIC and top military grade security software companies such as SPAWAR, it’s hard not to think of Charleston as such.
Force Protection, Inc. based in Ladson, South Carolina and established in 1997 is the nation’s leading developer, designer and manufacturer of survivability solutions, including blast and ballistic wheeled vehicles. Force Protection hosts it’s own ballistics testing area in Edgefield, South Carolina for the development of cutting-edge IED and mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) light tactical vehicles. Many of the MRAP vehicles, the creation of Force Protection, Inc. engineers and scientists, are currently deployed and in use by the U.S. Military.
As recent as May of 2010, Force Protection, Inc. received two similar awards one for $64.2 million for 60 of their Buffalo model tactical vehicles and another for $24 million for 30 Cougar model tactical vehicles. Force Protection, Inc. is also pioneering the way for new solutions to guard U.S. soldiers from the threat of TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), the most common injury sustained by U.S. Military soldiers. A testament to Force Protection’s superior quality a recent news story broke about one of Force Protection’s own MRAP vehicles being struck by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). The soldier’s claimed that the only thing on the vehicle that they were unable to fix was the air-conditioning.
SAIC, a Fortune 500 scientific, engineering and technology applications company, founded in 1969 with headquarters in McLean, VA, also has a firm foothold in South Carolina with two different branches in Charleston. SAIC is the leading provider of engineering and technical support for operational test and evaluation of Air Force and other systems. SAIC is also the principal defense contractor for Joint Intelligence Operations Capability-Iraq (JIOC-I). SAIC has also developed the ICIS or Integrated Container Inspection System to examine U.S. cargo without impeding the flow of containers from coast to coast.
Another giant in the realm of defense and naval warfare in Charleston, South Carolina is of course SPAWAR. SPAWAR is a member of the Naval Acquisition Enterprise (NAE) with 7,500 government and 4,000 supporting defense contractors worldwide. SPAWAR is also the Chief engineer, architect and technical assessor of FORCEnet technology for naval warfare systems. SPAWAR provides superior quality to naval cyber systems including both defensive security features and advanced attack techniques into adversarial systems. SPAWAR is the leading provider of integrated solutions for decision superiority and decision-making systems. SPAWAR holds a naval warfare facility in Charleston, South Carolina now known as the SPAWAR Systems Center, Charleston. With these giants of defense and warfare surrounding the Charleston area, the opportunities for industrial expansion cannot help but to grow in number.