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FEMA approves AVIAN-led counter-UAS training course for first responders

LEXINGTON PARK, Md. – The threat is real, the time is now, and after four years in development, Drone Assessment and Response Tactics (DART) courses received final certification from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

DART is a counter-UAS training course developed by AVIAN in collaboration with New Mexico Tech (NMT) to train emergency personnel to respond to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) threats.

The training provides awareness of the unmanned aircraft threat, the legalities of using both drones and counter-drone technology, and an introductory framework of tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP’s) to assist first responders and emergency management professionals develop an organized and practiced response to malicious and negligent drones operating within their areas of responsibility. Participants implement detection techniques, track, and identify UAS, assess threats, and implement response techniques. 

“The threat to our nation’s critical infrastructure via nefarious small UAS activities is not emerging - it is here now and growing,” said George Franz, AVIAN’s chief operating officer. “I’m tremendously proud of our team along with our industry and consultant partners [past and present] who collaborated to develop this course, achieved FEMA certification, and provide expert instruction to first responders and other security experts across the nation.” 

AVIAN is currently the sole source provider through NMT for counter unmanned aircraft systems (C-UAS) training to first responders and emergency management personnel from around the country on behalf of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium (NDPC). In collaboration with NMT and FEMA, AVIAN provides courseware development and instruction. 

The DART 3-day resident course, PER –392, taught at NMT’s Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC) includes both classroom instruction and field training exercises with live explosive detonations. A mobile 1-day course, AWR-407, and a customized 90-minute course, AWR-407C also offered throughout 2022. 

Last year, AVIAN acquired redUAS LLC, a C-UAS tactics and training company that first began the development of the DART courses. Before its acquisition, redUAS was a joint venture formed in 2017 between AVIAN, and five U.S. Armed Forces veteran-owned, and first responder-owned companies.

“AVIAN has been a part of this mission from day one with redUAS,” said Kevin Switick, AVIAN’s chief executive officer. “We acquired the company because we felt a strong calling to continue that counter-UAS mission and expand it to other critical infrastructures.”

Shortly after the acquisition, redUAS was absorbed into the Counter Threat Solutions (CTS) Division of AVIAN’s Test & Evaluation | Flight Support (TFS) sector, which is a pioneer in unmanned systems projects for the United States Navy.

As AVIAN’s newest division, Counter Threat Solutions (CTS) is led by Tyler Sautter, a former U.S. Army UAS instructor pilot, and DART’s lead instructor. Sautter has taught courses in unmanned systems across six continents and has been foundational in the development of the course and bringing on the best instructors to teach these courses in-person and virtually. CTS is twenty-seven instructors strong and leverages capabilities from AVIAN’s Training, Multimedia, and Consulting sector to make the courses even more dynamic. 

“Let’s just say, our team understood the assignment,” Sautter said. “We’ve been giving it everything we’ve got over the past few years to get DART offered more widely to the men and women on the front lines and are at their service every step of the way.”

CTS provides tactics and training, risk assessment, and threat tolerance assessments with a near-term focus on unmanned technologies. Long-term, CTS will leverage its diverse team to combat critical threats such as Weapons of Mass Destruction, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE); Espionage; and Privacy Incursions to the sixteen critical infrastructure sectors identified by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

It’s incredible to see the momentum grow in this team,” Switick said. “They are dedicated, passionate, and committed to making to world a safer place for all of us to live in. I’m humbled and honored to have the opportunity to be a part of it.”

About AVIAN’s Counter Threat Solutions Division 

AVIAN’s Counter Threat Solutions (CTS) division is committed to cutting-edge training and solutions to protect people and critical infrastructure worldwide from emerging or evolving technologies by identifying and mitigating credible threats.

AVIAN’s team is comprised of highly skilled counter-threat experts with prior military, special forces, law enforcement, intelligence, and national security experience.

Our instructors understand the value of countermeasures and a comprehensive understanding of critical responses to complex hybrid threats.

We develop training material and curriculum to meet customer needs ranging from management overviews to full tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) and execution for security personnel, including field exercises. 

Tactics and Training offered include field tactics, exercises, and demonstrations; scenario-based training; unmanned system(s) demonstrations; classroom instruction; eLearning; and virtual reality enhanced training. 

About AVIAN 

AVIAN (*ae-v-yin*) is an employee-owned small business headquartered in Lexington Park, Maryland with annual revenues exceeding $72 million.

AVIAN provides resourceful, responsive, and reachable solutions in program, financial, and logistics management; engineering and systems engineering; test and evaluation of manned and unmanned aerial, surface, and subsurface systems; workforce development and training; communication strategy and graphic design.

Innovators in the unmanned systems industry, AVIAN has achieved the first helicopter unmanned air vehicle landing onboard a Littoral Combat Ship, the first dual air vehicle flight from a single control station, and the first laser-guided rocket shot from a helicopter unmanned air vehicle.

AVIAN tests and operates the MQ-4C Triton, the MQ-8B/C Fire Scout, and the RQ-21 Blackjack UAS systems at the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) in addition to various commercial off the shelf UAS systems for government C-UAS efforts.

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