From General to CEO:
One man’s journey from the battlefield to
12/15/2013 • www.ECNmag.com
By Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor
I’m proud to work in an industry with such a disproportion- ately high number of military veterans. Many of our colleagues previously served the nation with honor and distinction, trading ACUs for business suits and M4s for fountain pens.
Case in point: Steve Sargeant, CEO of Marvin Test Solutions,
formerly a Major General with the United States Air Force.
Marvin Test Solutions has a history of providing vertically
integrated test solutions for the military that stretches back to
the Army’s Hellfire Missile system in 1992 and includes cut-
ting-edge programs like the F- 22 Raptor and the Joint Strike
Founded as Geotest in 1988, MTS has a longstanding relationship with the military, so the test provider was a natural fit for
Maj Gen Sargeant, who’d worked extensively with many of the
systems — including the A- 10, F- 16, and F-35 — supported by
Back in 2000, Sargeant was wing commander at Luke AFB
while the Joint Strike Fighter was being prototyped, and he su-
pervised the community’s JSF efforts and built lasting relation-
ships — that would serve him later in his career — with many
Brian Posner, System Engineering,
Sikorsky Aircraft Company
From my seat here in the trenches of verti-
cal-lift aircraft development, UAS will play
a very large role in America’s warfighting
arsenal. Our government customers are
pushing hard for inclusion of autonomous
or remote-control operation in vertical-lift
aircraft currently planned or in development. With the assortment
of sensor systems currently available, whether a pilot is in the
aircraft or not does very little to affect the information available for
mission effectiveness. For many mission types and environments,
removing safety of the pilot and crew from a situation greatly
increases the options available to a battlespace commander.
I see remote operation as the next big wave. Full autonomy
is inevitable but not nearly as imminent. It is currently possible
to program an aircraft for standard flight profiles, but the range
of perturbations is so large that accounting for route selection,
station-keeping, evasive maneuvering, etc., is still too complex
As soon as development and
delivery costs fall below the
measurable value of a piloted
aircraft, we will see a huge proliferation in unmanned aircraft. As
to whether UAS will ever fully replace piloted aircraft, I see it as
inevitable but very long-term.
What role will unmanned aerial systems play in America’s future warfighting
arsenal? Will UAS ever completely replace manned aircraft?
I see remote operation
as the next big wave.