ABSI Partners with Tekla to Provide Key Support to NAVAIR 4.1

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ABSI to Provide Key Functions to Tekla Support of Systems Engineering Contract

ABSI Defense is pleased to join Tekla Research to serve the U.S. Navy in supporting the Naval Air Systems Command’s Systems Engineering Department.

In a release dated February 12, 2018, the DoD said Tekla will perform systems specialty engineering and technical work, assessing technology, schedule, cost and maturity of design in functional areas such as air/ship integration, survivability, and metrology. ABSI will assist with anti-tamper engineering support and technical expertise across NAVAIR aircraft, weapons, training, support and test programs.

“We are pleased to have ABSI on board as we seek to fulfill this wide mission set for NAVAIR,” said Doug Isleib, Vice President and leader of Tekla’s Lexington Park office. “This contract will increase the local footprint of both companies, bringing additional jobs and expertise to the Patuxent River community.”

Chris Sacco, CEO of ABSI Defense added, “We are excited to take on this challenging work in partnership with Tekla. As a SDVOSB, we’re passionate about serving our nation’s warfighters. This significant award will not only enable our incremental growth, but that of the Pax River technical community.”

The firms will work together to service the contract, which is expected to be completed by April 2023.

About ABSI: ABSI Defense, ABSI Tactical and ABSI Aerospace are all part of ABSI. Each business unit focuses on a specific cadre of customers in the unmanned aviation community. With a deep subject matter expertise in all aspects of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and core competencies in Program Management, Acquisition and Procurement, Test & Evaluation, and full Life-cycle Logistics, ABSI serves a broad range of mission requirements. ABSI leaders and employees are experienced USMC, Navy, and Army veterans with backgrounds that include rotary and fixed-wing aircrew, airframe and air systems test and evaluation, in-theater UAS operation, UAS curriculum development and delivery, and small UAS logistics support. ABSI is the managing partner of redUAS. For more information: www.absidefense.com and www.reduas.us.

About Tekla Research: Tekla, founded in 1995, is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) supporting the Department of Defense. Tekla is a cost-competitive, agile, small business with offices in Pax River, MD; Dumfries, VA; Washington DC and Norfolk, VA. Tekla has managed more than 35 subcontractors, ranging from multi-billion-dollar corporations to very small companies, as the prime contractor on multiple contracts ranging from $2M to $64M.

ABSI Included in American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Unmanned Aircraft Systems Standardization Collaborative (UASSC)

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ABSI Defense is pleased to join other Unmanned Systems industry leaders to assist in the development of a standardization roadmap to identify existing standards, developing standards, and gaps relating to the safe mass integration of drones into the existing National Airspace System (NAS).

ANSI’s notification about the formation of the collaborative states, “UASSC’s roadmap will include a proposed timeline for completion of the work and list organizations that can perform the work. The aim is to describe the current standards landscape, articulate standardization needs, drive coordinated standards activity, minimize duplication of effort, and inform resource allocation for standards participation.”

ABSI joins other UAS industry leaders and commercial organizations invested in the development of standards governing UAS regulation including Apple, AT&T, Bell Helicopter, NASA Ames Research Center, Northrop Grumman, Rockwell Collins, and others.

“It is an honor and a responsibility to be part of this collaborative,” ABSI CEO Chris Sacco stated. “There is a lot of work to be done and a lot of competing goals, regulations and objectives, but the bottom line will be to establish a system in which there is room for UAS technology to continue to develop and to expand safely across the national airspace.”

The group is currently developing the standardization roadmap, with working groups meeting twice monthly to consider use cases and the level of airspace, risk, and regulatory environments involved with each.

ABSI Informs, Entertains, and Educates at Pax River Naval Air Museum STEAM Day Event

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ABSI proudly sponsored the annual Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) Day at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum (PRNAM) on February 10. The event, which brought in more than 450 attendees, saw local companies working together to share a love of aviation with the local community.

ABSI hosted a mini drone obstacle course inside a sixteen-foot enclosure, allowing kids and adults to try their hand at navigating a mini drone through hoops and onto a landing pad. “Part of the inspiration for the idea was the county’s first drone races, which we’re sponsoring in June,” Chris Sacco, CEO of ABSI said. “But a bigger part was sharing our knowledge and interest in unmanned aviation system with the engineers and designers who’ll be building them in the future. ABSI has a two-fold mission of supporting our local community and dispelling negative associations with drones by promoting safe practices and responsible operation.”

In addition to the drone obstacle course, ABSI team members discussed licensing requirements and highlighted the difference between hobby and commercial drone operation. They also demonstrated a first-person-view goggle attached to a Typhoon system.

“ABSI had a line next to their booth all day long,” said Dan Bramos, Vice President, Activities and Director of Communication for the museum. “Together with our other sponsors, ABSI provided a great hands-on view of the intersections of art and science in aviation and demonstrated how that technology is being used in the world today.”

ABSI CEO, Chris Sacco, talks about why you can’t just “shoot down” a drone

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In a recent article in Security Magazine (available here), CEO of ABSI, Chris Sacco, talks about the legal implications of shooting down or disabling a drone, an issue that bounds one in lots of regulatory red tape and is about as clear as murky water.

As Sacco notes in the article, “The FAA considers unmanned aircraft of any size to be covered under Title 18 of the United States Code 32, which describes “sabotage to include destruction of any aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States.” Violation of this code carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. In other words, it’s illegal to shoot down any aircraft in the U.S., including a drone, according to federal law. And lest you decide that simply jamming or intercepting control of the offending drone might be more your style, know that the FCC considers any form of “jamming” or otherwise interfering with radio transmission to be a violation of the Communications Act of 1934. Between these two federal laws, most anti-drone technology on the market (including net guns and jamming guns) could put you into some legal hot water.”

In the piece, Sacco outlines five steps to help combat unwanted intrusions from unidentified and possibly malicious drones, focusing especially on law enforcement and other first responders. As the Managing Partner for RedUAS, a company that provides Counter-UAS services and consulting, Sacco is an authority in this rapidly evolving area.

“Because regulations are evolving and differ by locality, take the time to learn what laws apply in your specific locale. Until regulations catch up with UAS technology, providing security that includes a counter-drone plan can feel a little like policing the wild west. Smart planning and partnership with the right counter-UAS partners or technologies for you can keep your property and people safe,” Sacco concludes.

STEAM Day at the Pax River Naval Air Museum is One Week Away!

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ABSI is excited to be a sponsor of STEAM Day at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum. We’ll be just inside the new museum building offering participants the chance to try their hand at drone racing on our mini course, and are pleased to donate three small drones for the museum to raffle to those in attendance. Please plan to join us on February 10th at the museum from 10am to 5pm!

ABSI and Pax River Naval Air Museum Team Up to Share Unmanned Systems with School-Aged Kids at STEAM Day

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On February 10th, PRNAM and ABSI Invite the Community to Visit, Learn and Participate in Hands-On Technology and Art Displays from Local Sponsors

ABSI is sponsoring the first annual Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) Day at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum (PRNAM). ABSI has teamed with the local museum to offer support and assistance with planning and holding the community-focused event geared toward sharing a love of aviation with local kids and the community.

“This event will be bigger than last year’s STEM Day,” noted Dan Bramos, Vice President, Activities and Director of Communication for the museum. “We are eager to welcome the community to explore our newly re-opened exhibits, to learn about the intersections of art and science in aviation, and to have dedicated locals like the ABSI team on hand to demonstrate how that technology is being used in the world today.”

STEAM Day will take place at the museum on February 10th from 10am to 5pm, and activities and exhibits will be set up throughout both buildings and on the flight line, which is also home to 22 aircraft, which visitors are welcome to approach and examine. The day will also feature Oscar Falco, the museum’s mascot, who will be on hand for photos and to hand out raffle prizes. One lucky attendee will have the chance to win a small UAS, donated by ABSI.

“We are eager to share this event and our space with the community,” said Bramos. “We’ve been encouraged by the reception and support we have received from local sponsors like ABSI, and hope the community will support this event, too. The museum really is a unique resource for St. Mary’s County, one we’d love to make a must-see stop not just for visitors, but for locals, too.”

About the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum: The Patuxent River Naval Air Museum (PRNAM) serves as the link between the U.S. Navy’s missions at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River (Pax River) and the community defined by those missions. The museum sits in an enviable location with an inspiring story perfectly suited to the technological preoccupations of our era. PRNAM is unique in terms of its collections and mission, which are focused on the research, development, test and evaluation environment as well as experimental concepts that never made it to the Fleet. The museum also houses artifacts and simulators, films, and books spanning the history of Naval Aviation, as well as 22 one-of-a-kind aircraft. Current hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Admission to the museum complex is five dollars for adults and three dollars for children, seniors and active duty personnel. For more information see the museum website at www.paxmuseum.org.

ABSI Joint Venture redUAS Demonstrates Counter UAS Capabilities

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ABSI Joint Venture redUAS Demonstrates Counter UAS Capabilities at World’s Largest Boat Show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

On-Site UAS Operators Keep Watch over 1500 Boats, 105,000 Visitors; and Perform More than 20 Intruder Drone Intercepts at 2017 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

ABSI, a local company focused on unmanned aviation systems for the defense and commercial sectors, demonstrated the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and counter-UAS capabilities of its joint venture, redUAS at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in November. Deploying operators from ABSI and other partner companies, redUAS was tapped by security providers at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show to keep the skies over the show safe and free of unauthorized or malicious drones.

In an environment where drones are proliferating and many hobbyist operators fly without awareness of FAA rules and airspace regulations, trade show and event operators face increasing security risks from above. Security organizers at the FLIBS brought in redUAS to provide an additional layer of security, aware that an outdoor venue covering six miles of floating docs and containing assets worth roughly $4 billion would be a target for curious hobbyists or non-paying visitors looking to capture interesting aerial footage.

“It’s easy to throw a camera-equipped drone in the air today,” Chris Sacco, ABSI CEO and Managing Partner of redUAS noted. “And there’s a general lack of education and awareness of the rules, so many hobbyists don’t know that the airspace around the show is restricted, that they can’t legally operate overhead, or that drones can’t be legally operated beyond the operator’s line of sight without the proper waivers. We operated from rooftops and on the ground to identify and locate intruder drones and their operators, coordinating with local law enforcement and show management to keep the show, crowd and assets safe.”

ABSI and other redUAS operators utilized a combination of cutting-edge technologies and military-based tactics, techniques, and procedures to keep the skies, boats and visitors safe at the world’s largest boat show in Fort Lauderdale in early November.

“Domestic counter-UAS is a quickly evolving arena,” Sacco noted. “Though many companies advertise jamming, nets and other kinetic means of countering the malicious use of drones, generally those tactics are illegal under current FAA regulations concerning unmanned aircraft. redUAS is the only service provider offering a safe and effective method of dealing with intruder UAS in concert with local law enforcement for events and high-value targets.”

The redUAS team was directly integrated with the on-site security in place at the show, and drone operators worked directly with local law enforcement, FBI, and show security to monitor, detect, identify—and in some cases, prosecute—intruder drones flying over the boat show illegally. “Our team successfully passed location information and maintained visual contact with the intruding drones until they either landed or went out of observable range. We were able to pass position information to our LE/FBI partners here, and they went and knocked on doors and broke the bad news to the offenders.”

Technology Marketing Veteran Joins ABSI Defense

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Nancy Smay joins ABSI as Director of Marketing and Communications

PAX RIVER, MD, October 5, 2017 – ABSI, a defense contractor focused on providing deep subject matter expertise in all aspects of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), is pleased to announce the addition of Nancy Smay to the company as Director of Marketing and Communications.

“We’re pleased to welcome Nancy to the team,” CEO Chris Sacco said. “Her background in marketing and sales, combined with her experience in the DoD acquisition world makes her uniquely qualified to set the tone for our brand as we grow.”

Smay formerly held positions as Marketing Director at 24/7 Media, Inc. and Simile Software in New York City, where she managed marketing and corporate communications efforts in both the business to business and consumer internet spaces. She went on to work as a technical writer at Booz Allen Hamilton in China Lake, California, assisting with software test and evaluation reporting for the H-1 WSSA. Most recently, Smay held the position of Lead Technical Writer and Editor at NAVAIR 4.0M, Mission Engineering and Analysis. In this role, she led documentation and study reporting efforts for capabilities-based assessments and analyses of alternatives that spanned DoD acquisition efforts.

Sought-After Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) Expert to Lead DC Capitol Region for ABSI Defense

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Kenneth Briggs Brings Extensive Operational Manned and Unmanned Aviation Experience to Bear on ABSI’s Business Development and Program Support Efforts


PAX RIVER, MD, October 5, 2017 – ABSI, a defense contractor focused on providing deep subject matter expertise in all aspects of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), is pleased to announce the addition of former USMC Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Briggs to the company as Regional Director for the DC Capitol Region.


In his new role, Briggs acts as ABSI’s UAS subject matter expert lead across multiple opportunities and contracts, and he also supports analysis of UAS requirements for one of the company’s DoD customers.

“Ken is a great addition to our team,” CEO Chris Sacco said. “He offers an impressive array of strategic experience in the unmanned arena, and his understanding of DoD program execution gives him insight that will be a great asset to our clients.” He has operational experience in the Americas, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Rim, and has been widely recognized as an expert in Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps UAS.

Briggs has led more than 100 projects globally throughout his impressive career, and was instrumental in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief in the Philippines in 2004 and in support of the Indonesian Tsunami Relief of 2004-2005. He also led projects supporting the transition to Small UAS (Groups 1-3) within the Air Force, conducting business case analyses, financial road-mapping, economic viability, and program planning and execution.