PAE: Patuxent "Pax" River
Naval Air Station Gets PAE’s Full Range of Support
PAE’s scope of global services includes mission and range support for U.S. Department of Defense installations throughout the country. At Naval Air Station Patuxent (Pax) River in Maryland, PAE's support services encompass everything from developing sophisticated vessel-tracking systems to maintaining targets used in weapons testing. In addition to providing quality services to the Navy, PAE employees at Pax River also take great pride in their continued support of the local community.
The Pax River complex serves as the Naval Air Systems Command Headquarters, and is home to many specialized units, such as the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. The facility supports naval aviation operations through researching, developing, testing and evaluating aircraft and other defense-related systems. PAE provides engineering, range operations, software development, airspace scheduling, maintenance, safety, structural testing, and data analysis.
Explains Rich Pace, PAE's vice president, range and engineering services at Pax River, "We operate and maintain the range, we do aircraft instrumentation design, we wire airplanes, we maintain aircraft instrumentation systems, we provide range safety officers, and we integrate project management and program coordination on project requirements." PAE also supports the Navy's electronic warfare capabilities, such as servicing the target ships used in testing the latest weapons systems. "We make the targets look like bad guys," Pace says. "Also, the Navy saved money by using several of our ideas on cruise missile testing."
As measured by the Navy's performance metrics, the PAE team has received "Exceptional" ratings for all categories in each of the past six years, and a recent contractor performance assessment report issued by the Navy cited as key attributes PAE's ability to provide quality services and respond quickly to changing requirements.
Pace cites the work of a PAE maintenance team at Pax River as a good example: "During an upgrade project, an excavation crew inadvertently cut a critical communications cable, and PAE's ground electronics maintenance division quickly went into action to repair the cable." Pace says the team toiled for nine hours in scorching temperatures to complete the delicate 100-pair splice of the communications cable. After an excavation crew prematurely backfilled the open trench, the PAE team went back in and repaired several damaged connections and supervised many hours of stringent operability tests. For their efforts, team leaders received a Letter of Appreciation from the base's Commanding Officer.
On the SureTrak to Success
Pace says one notable success at Pax River has been SureTrak, a monitoring system originally developed by PAE for the Coast Guard. "The Navy needed a system that could pull together information from several different systems and eliminate false indications," he says. PAE’s SureTrak solution integrates and displays tracking data from a wide range of sensors and instruments and is used for tasks such as air surveillance and tracking naval vessels. "SureTrak integrates the air picture along with the surface picture and other sensors and lets the Navy monitor the airspace and surface space for safety purposes," says Pace. The SureTrak system is being deployed at several U.S. military installations and is also used by NASA.
PAE's success at Pax River can be attributed to a close partnership developed with the Navy over nearly 30 years. Pace notes, "You need a real partnership with the government to define the right kind of scope to successfully complete these complex operations. Essentially, we've been integrated into all facets, and we've created a situation where we are embedded in all of their teams. There is still a clear line of responsibility and scope, but essentially that tasking allows us to integrate with the Navy in a partnership kind of way."
Giving back to the community
PAE's support does not stop with engineering, technology, maintenance and R&D work. PAE participates in the Patuxent Partnership, a local consortium of industry, government and academic organizations that promotes local business opportunities and improvements in the quality of life.
PAE employees at Pax River also have a tradition of community involvement, providing considerable time and support to local charities and projects. One of these is Christmas Caring, a program in which PAE employees sponsor families in need by collecting and distributing gifts and meals. Other initiatives supported by PAE include the Pax River Naval Air Museum, the St. Mary's College River Concert Series, the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life, and various local sports programs. "We are very proud of our community involvement," Pace says. "We have been a part of this community for a long time and we truly enjoy giving back."
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