Founded in 1997 with its design and manufacturing facilities in Johnstown, Pa., cutting-edge design, specialized services, rapid prototyping and manufacturing of tactical systems for the U.S. Department of Defense is what Compass Systems, Inc. had in mind from their founding. Located with multiple sites across the United States, Compass provides a wide range of services to the Department of Defense and associated clients.

“The culture starts the moment you step through the doors,” said Compass CEO Ray Rose. “We are an American small business fulfilling unique needs in our market. We take pride in our country, service members and the work we do each and every day.”

In 2005, Compass launched a Made-In-PA facility located in Johnstown. This facility draws upon the strong manufacturing heritage and dedicated workforce in western Pennsylvania. This AS9100 registered facility has become Compass’s primary design, prototyping and manufacturing location enabling us to provide a wide range of services fulfilling customers’ urgent needs with rapid response.

“Whether you’re starting with a rough idea or a fully realized concept, our experts help design, build and improve the advanced technologies that make aerial, ground-based and rugged electronic systems fully mission capable and operationally sustainable,” said David Bjornberg, Director of Engineering and Manufacturing. “By combining our numerous strategic partnerships and decades of defense-related programs, we can meet the most challenging requirements.”

Compass has also played a key role in supporting a number of critical mission-specific Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for the Department of Defense. Our cross-functional teams have decades of experience in the areas of system design, prototyping, manufacturing, systems integration, test and evaluation and operation sustainment. Compass has supported everything from building cable assemblies, power modules, supporting flight operations, training, deployments and more.

Challenge: Typical Unmanned System operators use a mix of motion controllers, keyboard and mouse to operate systems. The controls are not typically laid out ergonomically which can lead to serious fatigue and reduced performance for operators.

Solution: In response to this need, Compass Systems developed the PCS to mitigate these issues and standardize the controls. To ensure success, our goal was to keep operators engaged from the initial conceptual design effort all the way through functional prototype testing. Compass Systems utilized a skilled, cross-functional design and engineering team to successfully develop PCS.

Result: To date, Pilot Control Stations are being used by a number of DoD clients with well over 500+ hours of both simulator and Unmanned System flight time. The system has successfully mitigated the human factor struggles and provided operators with an unparalleled level of control. “In our 20+ years in business our extreme level of customer engagement and experience with advanced DoD systems have been instrumental in building strong partnerships with fellow small to mid-size businesses,” said Rose.

He recognized HurleyIR (hurleyir. com) and Dragonfly Pictures Inc. ( as key partnership examples: As an innovator in the field of rugged EO/IR imaging systems, HurleyIR is a value-added engineering and manufacturing company dedicated to producing the highest quality rugged multi-spectral imaging solutions at the lowest cost of ownership. Compass has partnered with HurleyIR on a range of projects related to engineering design and manufacturing.

Compass has worked with HurleyIR for more than 10 years and our relationship is founded on mutual respect, trust and a commitment to growth and innovation. Dragonfly Pictures Inc. (DPI) is the industry leader in small rotary wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) in the U.S.; DPI has successfully flown thousands of hours, military tested, and are available for industry. DPI is recognized for robust low-cost UAVs, world-class innovative rotorcraft design, extensive testing and successful UAV deployment. This recognition is part of a long heritage with rotorcraft that dates back over 70 years to 1942, when Frank N. Piasecki flew the second successful helicopter in the U.S. Over the past three years, Compass has been working closely with DPI in the area of advanced tethered unmanned systems.

The tethered systems are currently supporting a wide range of advanced military payloads enabling a unique mix of advanced capabilities for the Department of Defense. This innovation fits well with the strong heritage of DPI and within the design and manufacturing teams at Compass.

“In both of these relationships the one absolute is an undying commitment to success,” said Rose. “We work very closely with our partners through impossible deadlines, daunting technical and manufacturing challenges. In the end, we do everything possible to help our teammates grow and succeed. This culture coupled with our engineering capabilities and commitment cannot be easily matched.”

To learn more about Compass Systems and how they can support your urgent design and manufacturing needs, contact: