Promising more investment in the United States, ST Engineering names new U.S. chief

By Marjorie Censer / October 11, 2018

ST Engineering last month named Tom Vecchiolla, a former Raytheon executive, to head its United States-based company, VT Systems, as it seeks growth here.

Vecchiolla is set to become president and chief executive on Dec. 1, succeeding retired Army Gen. John Coburn. Vecchiolla previously founded a consulting firm focused on aerospace and defense clients and from 2002 to 2007 was an executive at Raytheon. His last role there was president of Raytheon International.

ST Engineering is a Singapore-based technology, defense and engineering company. VT Systems, its U.S. arm, was founded in 2001 and aggregated a few of the company's acquisitions, Vecchiolla told Inside Defense from the company's booth at the Association of the United States Army's annual conference in Washington.

Now, VT Systems, which is based in Alexandria, VA, and has about 5,000 employees, is seeking to bolster its business. Its portfolio includes shipbuilding, rugged computer systems, aircraft maintenance and repair and robotics, among other offerings.

Last month, ST Engineering announced the U.S. unit will acquire MRA Systems from General Electric for $630 million. The Baltimore, MD-based MRAS, which has about 800 employees, manufactures engine nacelle systems for narrowbody and widebody aircraft.

"The Proposed Acquisition will allow ST Engineering to scale up its aerospace capabilities by moving the company into the OEM business of high-value nacelle components and replacement parts," ST said in a press release. "MRAS' design, engineering and manufacturing know-how in advanced composite structures is synergistic with ST Engineering's composite manufacturing capabilities."

The business will be a "sizeable" addition to VT's revenue, Vecchiolla said.

He told Inside Defense VT is "actively pursuing new opportunities," from acquiring facilities to companies.

Parent company ST Engineering is partnering with Science Applications International Corp. on key vehicle programs. The two teamed up to participate in the Amphibious Combat Vehicle program, though the ultimate award went to BAE Systems. They are now working together on the Army's Mobile Protected Firepower initiative.

Vecchiolla said ST Engineering and VT Systems are buoyed by the Defense Department's growing openness to working with companies based abroad. He noted Boeing partnered with Swedish contractor Saab to win the T-X training jet program, while Italian company Leonardo worked with Boeing to snag the Huey replacement contract.

"The U.S. government is recognizing that it doesn't all need to be invented here," Vecchiolla said, though he noted U.S.-focused programs would be built here.