Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

ABQ-based missile test-and-evaluation firm gets new digs

Raven Defense Corp. President and CEO Chris Patscheck Tuesday at the unveiling of the company’s new 25,000-square-feet headquarters at The 25 Way business park. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Raven Defense Corp. technician Eric Gold works on an antenna control box Tuesday at the company’s new Albuquerque headquarters. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

A Raptor antenna component made by Raven Defense Corp. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

An array of Raven Defense Corp. antennas. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

Albuquerque-based Raven Defense Corp.’s hypersonic missile test-and-evaluation technology is propelling the homegrown startup into hyper-growth.

The company launched in 2018 to provide remote monitoring services for defense agencies to test and evaluate the performance of new hypersonic missiles and other modern weapons technology currently under development. And now, with less than five years in operation, Raven is rapidly emerging as one of New Mexico’s premier government contractors.

The company projects at least $20 million in revenue by year-end, up from $14.6 million last year, said Raven co-founder and CEO Chris Patscheck. And it expects to double its workforce this year, from 20 employees in 2021 to 40 by December.

To accommodate all the growth, Raven inaugurated a newly refurbished, 25,000-square-foot facility today at The 25 Way business park in Central Albuquerque.

Until now, Raven had operated out of two different offices, including a separate 5,000-square-foot facility in The 25 Way, and another 5,000-square-foot space near the Albuquerque International Sunport.

Raven’s new facility permits company consolidation in the heart of Albuquerque. That includes a test-and-evaluation center it built just across the highway from The 25 Way, where it leased a previously empty four-acre lot of land that now houses an array of dish antennas, which the company uses to manage telemetry, or remote monitoring, services for DOD customers.

“That was just an overgrown lot,” Patscheck told the Journal. “We put down a 10-year land lease and then cleaned it up, fenced it in and installed security cameras.”

Raven is the brainchild of four former employees at Raytheon Technologies Corp., a global aerospace defense contractor that shut down its Albuquerque operations in 2020.

With Raytheon ramping down and the military ramping up investments in modern weapons systems, the four colleagues saw an opportunity to launch their own company to help meet a growing DOD need for test-and-evaluation capabilities.

“We were seeing a massive increase in DOD weapons development and growing demand for operational testing services, so we built test-and-evaluation assets for hypersonic weapons and other technologies,” Patscheck told the Journal. “We’re filling a gap with our telemetry tracking systems.

Raven also provides advanced satellite communications for both government and commercial customers.

With extensive weapons modernization work underground in New Mexico, Raven expects rapid business expansion to continue, said company co-founder and Chief Financial Officer Megan Valles.

“It’s a growing market,” Valles told the Journal. “We’ve invested in building the capabilities needed for testing and evaluation, and we can now provide those support services very quickly.”

Given today’s tight real estate market, it took nearly a year to find a suitable facility for Raven, said Albuquerque broker Gannon Coffman, who represented Raven in the deal.

“It was a challenge to find a space big enough given Raven’s rapid growth,” Coffman told the Journal. “It’s a young, nimble company that’s creating high-wage jobs. It’s a great story for New Mexico.”

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