Raydon wins military contract over larger rivals

From the Orlando Sentinel:
Military training contractor Raydon Corp. has snagged a contract potentially worth $46 million to perform various support services for war-game simulators used by the armed forces, the company said Tuesday.

The Daytona Beach-based high-tech company beat a number of bigger rivals to win the three-year deal, which involves testing, maintaining and upgrading ground-vehicle simulators for the Army, Army National Guard and Marine Corps, officials said.
Terms of the new contract call for the company to provide “life cycle” work on simulators that train soldiers and Marines in convoy operations, gunnery marksmanship, Abrams tank operations and Bradley Fighting Vehicle skills.

It is the latest in a series of significant deals for Raydon, a smaller contractor that competes with big players such as Lockheed Martin Corp. and L-3 Communications Inc. for critical simulation training contracts.

In October, the company received a $47 million Army National Guard contract to produce military convoy simulators and gunnery simulators for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

“We won these contracts over some of the biggest defense firms in the nation,” said Toni Henry, Raydon’s director of communications. “This gives us nice momentum going into the new year.”

Raydon’s new contracts in 2008 have also helped the company regain its footing after a tough 2007 in which it cut nearly 100 jobs — or a third of its work force. New contracts in 2008 have generated jobs and Raydon now employs about 300, nearly as many as before the cuts, Henry said.

Raydon’s job cuts last year surprised simulation industry observers because of its prominent role in many well-funded high-tech training programs. It is one of the few contractors, for example, to make military convoy simulators, which have trained many soldiers bound for the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.

But company officials said they had to pare back the work force because they had expanded too quickly to meet the stepped-up demands of the war efforts.

“We think we ramped up far faster than anyone in this industry,” Raydon co-founder Don Ariel said in July 2007. “When you do that, sometimes you overshoot in terms of manpower.”

Richard Burnett can be reached at and 407-420-5256.

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