Defense Media Network

Boeing Acquires SMSi, Achieves First Flight of P-8A Production Aircraft

Bolstering its defense and security technology business, The Boeing Co. has agreed to acquire a small, fast-growing data-management company with strong expertise in C4ISR and cybersecurity for the defense and intelligence communities.

Chicago-based Boeing declined to say how much it will pay for privately held Solutions Made Simple Inc., more commonly known as SMSi. Headquartered in Reston, Va., SMSi employs roughly 65 people but doesn’t disclose sales or profits.

However, the 9-year-old company recently received an award from an industry group focused on emerging contractors. SMSi was named “contractor of the year” in a category that includes firms with sales of $12 million to $25 million.

But in announcing the acquisition, Boeing officials downplayed SMSi’s size and focused on its potential for improved technology sales. John Hinshaw, vice president and general manager of Boeing Information Solutions, noted SMSi has deep expertise in the fast-growing markets for federal C4ISR and cybersecurity.

“We’ve worked with SMSi for a number of years and see their team and products as strong complements to our existing capabilities,” Hinshaw said.

In particular, SMSi is highly regarded for its Twister Data Framework, a suite of software products that assist customers with data-management challenges. SMSi executives refer to Twister as “a new class of software that powers and manages mission-critical information-processing systems by linking legacy data and applications.”

Twister also helps technology departments link Web-based technologies and third-party applications into an efficient data pipeline that coordinates data retrieval, enrichment, and delivery processes, SMSi says.

Visitors to SMSi’s website who know that it works for the U.S. government might be tempted to think the company does a lot of work for the Central Intelligence Agency. Though it is an award-winning federal contractor the company does not disclose the names of any government agencies with which it does business. Nor does it mention any specific contracts.

Boeing said it expects to complete the transaction in this year’s third quarter. Once that occurs, Boeing will fold SMSi’s technology and personnel into its Network & Space Systems division.

One of the nation’s largest defense contractors, Boeing said in a separate announcement it had recently completed the initial flight of the first P-8A Poseidon production aircraft.

As part of a $1.6 billion contract awarded last January, the U.S. Navy plans to purchase 117 of the Boeing Next-Generation 737-based P-8As. The Navy will use the new aircraft to replace its P-3 fleet employed in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, Boeing said.

“As the Navy’s replacement for the P-3 Orion, the P-8A Poseidon represents the next generation of maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft,” said Capt. Michael Moran, program manager for Naval Air Systems Command’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft program office.

Boeing officials noted the P-8A is the first of six low-rate initial production (LRIP) aircraft Boeing is building for the U.S. Navy. The company will deliver LRIP-1 aircraft to the Navy next year on the way to initial operational capability (IOC) planned for 2013.


Michael A. Robinson has written articles for some of the nation's more prestigious publications. As...