Unmanned aircraft company creating 249 jobs in Warren County
Silent Falcon to invest $6M to locate East Coast headquarters in Front Royal area
Silent Falcon UAS, an unmanned aircraft systems service provider and equipment manufacturer, will invest $6 million to locate its new East Coast headquarters for research development and manufacturing at the Front Royal-Warren County Airport, creating 249 jobs, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday.
Founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Silent Falcon UAS manufactures patent-pending unmanned aircraft systems components and sensors for security, military and commercial customers. Its decision to move operations to Virginia coincides with an expansion of the company’s data collection business for runway inspections at airports.
“Silent Falcon UAS Technologies’ decision to establish its East Coast operations in Warren County and create a new workforce development partnership speaks volumes to Virginia’s leadership in the fast-growing unmanned systems industry,” Northam said in a statement. “With one of the nation’s largest transportation networks, an unmatched talent pipeline, and competitive operating costs, the commonwealth is an ideal location for the company to reach its expanding customer base.”
Randolph-Macon Academy’s Unmanned Systems Lab in Front Royal will partner with Silent Falcon through its drone program, which provides students experience with unmanned technology. The college-prep boarding school will work with the company to design new program curricula to prepare students for careers focused on unmanned aircraft.
“The small, business-friendly atmosphere and the availability of a great workforce were real selling points,” Silent Falcon CEO Grant Bishop said in a statement. “In addition, we are particularly excited about collaborating with the Randolph-Macon Academy and its innovative UAS program under the leadership of General Wesley, which has been at the forefront of training future UAS pilots and specialists.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Warren County, the Virginia Department of Aviation and the Center for Innovative Technology to secure the project for Virginia. The commonwealth competed with Massachusetts and New Jersey for the project.
Northam also approved a $161,482 Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund grant to help Warren County with the project. The company can receive Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit benefits for full-time jobs created. The Virginia Jobs Investment Program will support employee training activities.