I was wondering if anyone has any first hand knowledge of doing contract work on UAV's? I understand that General Atomics has the bulk of the jobs, and primarily at Creech AFB, NV. Just wanted to get some first hand feedback on what its like. Thanks.
General Atomics (GA) builds the MQ-1 Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper. Both fly at Creech and Holloman AFB, NM. There is also a Predator unit at Clovis AFB, NM. Near Tucson AZ, Upstate New York, MArch AFB, CA, North or South Dakota and other places, more to follow I'm sure. GA has a presense whereever these aircraft fly. Another company, Battlespace Systems has contracts for organizational level maintenance at Creech, Clovis, and some overseas positions. GA hires its own employees and subcontracts some labor thru LSI. You're a full time employee with full bennies. If you're at Creech, you will probably rotate overseas for about 4 months a year. Battlespace hires folks based on a "school year" program; you deplpoy overseas for 4 months, come back to the states and you're off for 4 months, you can't draw unemployment, but you can get another job while you wait for your next deployment. Check out both company web sites for jobs. Also, Sierra Nevada Corporation and SAIC are getting into the UAV ground station support business, check thier sites as well.
Two guys in my shop have quit and gone to Battle Space (and for that matter, I'm giving it alot of thought). Those guys are making around $65,000 for a 4 month deployment. 12hrs/7days for shifts, but niether one has said anything bad about them. Seem to like it fine, and for the pay, who wouldn't?
UAVs aren't a bad gig, I started on MQ-9s in Nov 08 with General Atomics. As an avionics tech I work on and maintain both MQ-9 aircraft and the associated ground control station, you have to know about computers for sure! Currently GA is looking for people in California and Nevada and a few other places, you can search on the web site; www.ga-asi.com, look under careers. Another company that openly looks for folks is BattleSpace Flight services, http://www.battlespacefs.com/. An finally, GA subcontracts some positions thru URS Corp, they can be found at https://www.urs.apply2jobs.com/index.cfm
If you can walk and chew gum while holding a wrench and have worked on or near a military aircraft that required a Secret clearance in recent past (the last 10 years) you have a pretty good chance at getting hired by BattleSpace. Go ahead and send them an app...