Sacramento-Based Company Builds Drones U.S. Military Uses for Target Practice

SACRAMENTO -- With U.S. tensions rising with Iran, the Department of Defense is investing a lot to ensure the U.S. military is up to any task -- and an important part of that effort is training.

Some of the tools for that is built in Sacramento.

Kratos Defense and Security Solutions' unmanned division started out as a small specialty composite shop that made mostly medical prosthetics, but it switched to making aircraft parts in the mid-90s.

Kratos has been building drones used by the Air Force and Navy for target practice since they bought their factory 10 years ago.

Weapons are constantly changing in modern warfare. Soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen still need to keep doing one thing: target practice. That's why the Sacramento based company received several government contracts to build even more drones.

That’s where Kratos’ Unmanned Systems Division comes in.

“A possible threat which could be an aircraft. It could be a cruise missile,” said Steve Fendley, president Kratos’ Unmanned Systems Division. “And our systems, our jet unmanned aircrafts are designed to replicate those particular threats in a variety of conditions and configurations.”

Fendley gave FOX40 a tour of his factory near McClellan airport.

“This airplane can actually take a missile shot that destroys the outboard wing section and the rest of the airplane is fine,” he described.

Building more than 100 of their different model drones a year, Fendley says business is booming.

“We basically have doubled our footprint in the Sacramento area in the last 12 months.”

Last month the company received a $31.8 million contract from the Air Force and a $25.4 million contract from the Navy.

And the company has been selling drones to our allies such as Taiwan, South Korea, Australia and the UK.$1 million. And But they are actually reusable, making them cheaper for militaries in the long run.

“They recover with a parachute, because they’re reusable, you can fly these for 20 or more flights, or you can shoot them down in the first flight,” Fendley said.

The Kratos factory brings almost 500 jobs to Sacramento and they’re looking to hire more.

“We’re hiring engineers, we’re hiring manufacturing personnel, composite technicians,” Fendley said. “We’ve got 80 openings right now.”

Along with the target drones, Kratos also makes unmanned aircraft which can be armed and fitted with cameras.

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