Inventing the future battlefield

Raytheon employees are building tomorrow's tech in Tucson

for innovation

Raytheon software engineer Desone Burns inspects a commercial drone he and two coworkers automated for the company’s Hackathon competition. The team took top honors, earning a cash award and gold gear.

There may be nothing more thrilling for a young engineer than to tackle a truly challenging technology, especially one that could save lives. Yet relatively few get the chance.

Unless they work at Raytheon.

In Tucson, Arizona, engineers spend their days inventing new technologies at its Innovation Center and Fusion Innovation Lab. Some, like Desone Burns, Amritpreet Kang and Mel Hernandez, are just getting started. The three early career engineers won the Innovation Center's Hackathon competition by building an automated drone that detects and tracks people's faces.

“Coming straight out of college, you want to make an impact, but you don’t expect it will happen so quickly,” said Kang, a guidance, navigation and controls specialist who works on Raytheon's Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle program. “The work we do has a big impact, especially on the people we’re protecting here and around the world – and our soldiers abroad.”

The three-day Hackathon allows employees to develop an idea outside their regular jobs, using company-provided hardware. Many of those ideas go on to earn patents.  

“It allows you to think differently and figure out your boundaries,” said Hernandez, a systems engineer on the EKV program.

The Innovation Center fosters an open, collaborative culture. Employees feel comfortable experimenting and taking calculated risks to solve some of the most challenging problems in the industry.

Raytheon’s Fusion Innovation Lab is the first stop for engineers working on new systems like the company’s Space Enabled Effects for Military Engagements, or SeeMe, satellite program. The new, miniature satellite will allow soldiers on the ground to see real-time aerial pictures of the battlefield.


Raytheon SeeMe program lead Tony Vulcano collaborates with colleagues while testing the miniature satellite on the robotic automated system located in the company’s Fusion Innovation Lab.

Employees use the Fusion Innovation Lab to work with robots, optics, new manufacturing techniques and more — a formula for creativity.

“We were able to incorporate features into the SeeMe satellites so we can test these satellites on the robotic automated system,” said senior systems engineer Tony Vulcano, who leads the SeeMe program. 

In the end, a leader in advanced technology, like Raytheon, needs to place its best brains on the very frontier of innovation. 

“I prefer design and coming up with new solutions to problems and capabilities that need to be implemented,” Kang said. “And I know there’s more things like that, that are waiting for me to work on.”

View employment opportunities at Raytheon in Tucson.

Published On: 08/29/2017
Last Updated: 01/09/2019