As Fidelity Technologies Corp. celebrates its 20th anniversary, we reflect on the changes that have occurred since our company began working with the Department of Defense in 1988, when it was a very different world for our military.
As our young company was opening its doors at a former knitting mill in eastern Pennsylvania, countries around the world seemed to finally be gravitating toward peace. The Soviets were withdrawing from Afghanistan. The Cold War was on its last leg, and peace was declared between Iran and Iraq.
There seemed to be a common perception that “enough was enough,” as countries concentrated their efforts on entering our modern-day global economy. This mood was evident in the contracts our company was receiving from the armed forces. With no active war to speak of, we were being asked to manufacture components to maintain and upgrade defense assets, such as upgrade kits for the entire fleet of A-10 aircraft and power distribution units for Bradley tanks.
Today, Fidelity Technologies operates out of a 78,000-square-foot headquarters in Reading, Pa., with 30 domestic field offices and representatives stationed worldwide. Through our four divisions, we now supply the military in a way we could never have anticipated in 1988 America.
Our company elevated itself to become high-tech, serving a military focused on a mandate to respond to 9/11. Our soldiers have become highly-trained and technologically-savvy. Gone are the days when live field exercises and table-top role-playing was sufficient military training. Simulators now play a vital role in the constructive training of our soldiers.
Due to the ongoing demand for the best and latest equipment, Fidelity evolved to build intricate and complex simulators for a new generation of war fighters.
As so much has changed, it is a daunting task for Fidelity Technologies to look into the future and anticipate what will happen next. Like you, we continually hear about the constant threats to our national security and the emphasis on the global war on terror.
Our military recognizes it must be prepared for anything, and so do the defense contractors who serve the armed forces.
What we have learned from our experience is that we must remain flexible, anticipate and welcome new technologies. We must accept the fact that next year’s business plan could quickly become obsolete, based on political and military strife worldwide.
As we move to the next chapter of our company, the military, as a result of lessons learned in the theaters of war, is turning to defense contractors to build exclusive equipment that can be quickly introduced on the battlefield.
In response, we recently unveiled a simulation training system for the Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC), a soldier who communicates with command and air and ground forces to coordinate defense missions.
The simulation trainer, which JTACs can use for rehearsing skills and missions, is the latest Fidelity product that demonstrates how far our company has advanced to serve the war fighter. This trainer helps JTACs coordinate numerous fire assets, such as air support, artillery and mortars, which brings more accountability, efficiency and precision to an air assault. JTACs have one of the most difficult roles on the battlefield because of the detailed coordination they must employ.
We had the opportunity to demonstrate the JTAC technology to military officers attending the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference in Orlando in December. Our new product received a warm reception as there was no question that it would be beneficial technology for the Air Force.
We expect our JTAC training simulator and other technologies now under development at Fidelity to define our company over the next few years, as the need for additional JTACs has been identified as a high priority within the military.
But, as Fidelity Technologies has learned since 1988, there are never any guarantees in our line of work. All we can anticipate are challenges that the military expects us to overcome.
And, to continue to thrive in this industry, we will accept those challenges and adapt to whatever comes our way.