Economically, Loudoun County just celebrated a highly successful fiscal business year.
That momentum has continued into this fiscal year with the announcement of a major deal between Ashburn-based Prototype Productions Inc. and longtime firearms manufacturer Beretta.
PPI is a technology development, manufacturing and commercialization firm founded in 1991 specializing in the defense and medical sectors.
While the company does a lot of defense contracting, it also specializes in medical device development.
During the last 22 years, the company has developed more than 200 market ready products for its diverse list of clients.
The new agreement with Beretta, a 500-year-old company out of Milan, is to integrate PPI's Powered Rail Technology System into its new weapons platforms, the ARX-100 and ARX-160 next generation polymer carbines.
According to PPI President Joe Travez, Beretta is one of the largest and most prominent gun manufacturers in the world.
Most weapons used by the U.S. military and commercial sector contain a rail system, which allows for accessories like a flashlight, thermal weapons sight, laser and night vision to be attached to the weapon for accuracy and safety.
Each of these accessories require batteries.
Currently, the U.S. and NATO standard for rail systems are the Picatinny Rail, essentially a dead piece of metal that does its job, but lacks necessary technology.
Joe Travez, president of PPI explained PPI's cutting edge Powered Rail Technology.
“The world is going digital. The issue with the current rail is soldiers must carry multiple batteries and different types of batteries to allow their accessories to work,” Travez said. “We came up with a powered strip that is fitted within the rail, is very thin, electronic and has a printed board. The board allows you to convey power through the board to the central battery in the butt of the rifle so that any accessory that is attached to the rail doesn't require [individual] batteries.”
The system doesn't stop there, however.
“Also the board can transmit data allowing for the development of next generation accessories on these various weapons platforms,” Travez added.
PPI was able to develop the Powered Rail Technology through the U.S. Army Small Business Innovation Research contract program. That contract was awarded in 2008.
Travez could not comment on specific details of the contract agreement with Beretta for reasons of future negotiations with other gun manufacturing companies.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the Beretta Defense Technologies Alliance of Companies,” Gabriele de Plano, vice president of military marketing and sales at Beretta USA said in a news release. “PPI's innovative technology will allow us to integrate Steiner optics and laser devices, illuminators and pointers into a unique ARX system solution.”
Buddy Rizer, acting director of the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development, believes PPI serves as an example of how business in Loudoun will continue to move forward.
“PPI is such an interesting and great company it is amazing to see how they are building this business block by block by block,” Rizer said. “When you start to look at this Beretta deal it is yet another example of how they are able to build on their successes and continue to come up with ways to expand their business model and create more value across the marketplace.”
Travez believes this partnership will help move his company forward.
“This a partnership with a 500-year-old company. They believe this is going to be a great partnership not only for this project, but for other projects,” Travez said. “They told us two years ago when negotiations began that heritage and culture is very important to them and they value what we have done with PPI and the way we have developed the value system. This is a 22-year overnight success and a culmination of all our hard work.”