OXLEY Inc. – CARVING OUT A TECHNOLOGY NICHE
By Julian Nettlefold
BATTLESPACE travelled to Branford Connecticut to meet Martin Sloan CEO of Oxley Inc.
Oxley Inc. started from a small office in California in 1976 as an Agency for Oxley Developments and moved to Branford Connecticut in 1984. Oxley Inc. was the first tenant on the Industrial Estate in Unit 25 which covered just 5000 sq. ft. with no manufacturing capability and 6 employees to a new custom-built 25000 sq. ft. facility on the same Park today, employing 42 people. Oxley Inc. turns over $15m and manufactures a wide range of specialist defence aerospace LED lighting products for the US market. The Company US facility have grown to become a centre of excellence for the design, manufacture and integration of LED lighting systems for both major defence equipment manufacturers, including Boeing and Sikorsky, and the US Government.
Martin Sloan CEO of Oxley Inc told me that the business had expanded considerably in the last few years benefiting from increased DoD spend.
“I started at Oxley Inc. as a Business Development Manager on the instructions of our then CEO, Dr Geoff Edwards to get closer to US customers and expand our US manufacturing operations. Oxley Inc products are now established on a number of key U.S. defence systems including Blackhawk, E-6 Intruder and C-17. Outside the aerospace market, we are supplying a large number of IR lighting systems for vehicles and very active in the development of advanced lighting systems for the U.S Navy as they look to standardize U.S. Navy ships for NVG operations. We are also very busy in the supply of products to manufacturers for the military equipment. The growth in the US, over the past 5 years, has led us to expand our facilities significantly and we now operate from a 25,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Connecticut”
“What was your first big break into the U.S. market?”
“Oxley Inc became a significant supplier in the US when our NVG capabilities were recognized by the Defence Equipment Supply Centre (DESC) and several major defence equipment manufacturers. We were amongst the first to integrate solid state infrared emitters for the Blackhawk helicopter in order to provide effective covert lighting when flying with night vision goggles. Being close to major equipment manufacturers, like Sikorsky, enabled us to provide high levels of service and engineering support in what was a very specialist technology. Now we find that our customers tend to rely on our LED lighting and NVG capabilities and come to us for solutions to their requirements”.
“How has the business developed since then?”
“Our early involvement in NVG compatible LED indicator lamps for DESC lead us to develop solutions for full cockpit modifications as NVG use grew. We were part of the team that modified the National Guard F-16 fleet that then lead to a $5 million contract for a novel optical filter modification to the external lights, this was installed on the USAF fleet and was the first fleet wide application of an NVIS friendly external lighting modification . This was followed by another first to upgrade the lighting systems on the EA-6B ‘Prowler’ fleet with a total LED based integrated visible and covert aircraft external lighting system. More recent awards have been for the Sikorsky S-92 and to supply external lights for the Boeing C-17.”
“Do you see the trend in NVG LED lighting continuing?”
“Oxley started looking into NVG Friendly cockpit lighting systems twenty five years ago. The first breakthrough came after the Falklands War where NVG use grew. Goggles supplied by the likes of Ferranti , ITT and Bell & Howell had one drawback, when they came into contact with the then standard cockpit lighting, they bloomed and the pilot lost all sight outside the aircraft. The first modification made was to put sticky tape over the cockpit lighting. Given our specialty in optical filters and LED technology, Oxley de