Status Update: Palmer Luckey’s Anduril Industries lands $1 billion defense contract – OCRegister

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Palmer Luckey’s 5-year-old defense tech startup Anduril Industries has won a contract worth nearly $1 billion from the U.S. Department of Defense.
The Costa Mesa-based company will get $967,599,957 in a long-term contract to develop its Lattice system and other unmanned countermeasure technology. Anduril’s defense system includes autonomous towers that use drone and radar technology to knock enemy drones from the sky.
“At Anduril, our team is constantly innovating to solve the toughest defense challenges facing our military,” Brian Schimpf, Anduril co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “The evolving unmanned aerial threat requires flexible, adaptable, and rapidly deployable technology approaches.”
The company released a video of its counter-drone system on YouTube. In it, a drone is seen flying over the desert terrain of Joshua Tree. From the ground, a radar-like device spins atop a small tower while an observer is shown at a computer in a remote location.
A text overlay indicates the Lattice system can disrupt the communication link between the drone and its pilot or more “kinetic” countermeasures can be used. The ensuing frames show a counter-drone being launched to ominous music. It soon knocks the “enemy” device from the sky.
Anduril’s contract is with the Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, the DoD division behind the high-tech components used by the nation’s armed forces. The company’s contract work with SOCOM will include the future design, prototype and development of counter-unmanned systems tech, according to Anduril.
In a story published by BreakingDefense.com, the startup’s contract was hailed as a sign the government is leaning away from deals exclusively with large corporations.
“This is hugely significant in that it sends a signal that startups and non-traditional companies can actually succeed in the federal marketplace,” Bill Greenwalt, a former deputy undersecretary of defense, told Andrew Eversden at the military news website.
Anduril recently moved into its new headquarters at the former Los Angeles Times printing facility in Costa Mesa. The company, named after a sword in J.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” was founded in 2017 by Luckey and partners Matt Grimm, Trae Stephens and Schimpf.
A Long Beach native and now a resident of Newport Beach, Palmer, 29, was the teenage creator of the Oculus virtual-reality headset. The company was based in Irvine and bought in 2014 by Facebook for $3 billion.
Anduril, now worth between an estimated $4.6 billion and $5 billion, continues to grow, with “lots of openings to meet the demand for its technology,” a representative said via email. The company also has offices in Seattle, Boston, Lexington, Mass., Atlanta, and Washington, D.C.
In June 2021, the company closed a $450 million Series D funding round with solo venture capitalist Elad Gil, Andreessen Horowitz, 8VC, Founders Fund, General Catalyst, Lux Capital, Valor Equity Partners and D1 Capital Partners.
For more details on Anduril job openings, go to www.anduril.com/careers
The District at Tustin Legacy will celebrate the Year of the Tiger this Saturday at the outdoor retail center’s AMC Tustin 14 courtyard.
The events from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 5 will include lucky red envelope giveaways, kids’ crafts, lion dancing, food and festive photo backdrops.
A representative with Tustin Legacy said the center will be handing out red envelopes with $2 bills to the first 500 guests.
Participating restaurants and shops will be offering Lunar New Year specials, from traditional hotpot dishes such as Poon Choi at J.Zhou to themed cocktail specials at Stowaway Tiki and red envelope giveaways and Lunar New Year designs at Ritz Nails.
The FOA Foundation in Laguna Beach has opened applications for 2022 Art Grants.
Nonprofits with programs promoting fine arts in the city can apply. Grant applications are available online at foafoundation.net. The submission deadline is Feb. 28.
“The Foundation is proud to be able to support the many nonprofit arts organizations that contribute so much to life here in Laguna Beach,” said Kathy Jones, FOA Foundation president. “We are a more exciting community because of all the hard work and dedication of these groups.”
The foundation was created in 1989 to promote the fine arts and other artistic endeavors in Laguna Beach. For more information on the grant application process, contact Kathy Jones via email at arts@foafoundation.net.
Shawn Thompson has been appointed as Tustin-based Pieology’s new chief executive officer, replacing Gregg Imamoto who has left the company.
“We are very enthusiastic about his leadership in stewarding the evolution and growth of Pieology into the new economic environment we now live,” said company founder Carl Chang in a statement. “We look forward to moving beyond COVID and into 2022 with new excitement and vigor.”
Thompson joins the pizza brand from Supercuts where he served as president. Before that stint, he was president of Tim Hortons USA and head of global operations for Restaurant Brands International.
The custom pizza concept was founded in 2011 and now has 130 franchise locations.
Guillaume de Chalendar is the new senior vice president and head of media and entertainment at Santa Ana-based Banc of California. In this new role, de Chalendar will lead the strategy and growth of Banc’s Media & Entertainment division. He spent nine years at Bank Leumi where he was global head of Media & Entertainment. Most recently, de Chalendar led similar efforts at Alvarium Investments, a multi-family office headquartered in London.
Goodwill of Orange County has appointed three new members to its board of directors: Jesse Aragon, director of operational planning at SoCalGas, Joanne Schroeder, vice president and officer at Arcadis, and Sridhar Sundaram, dean of the College of Business and Economics at Cal State Fullerton.  The appointees began their three-year term this month.
Springboard, an online learning platform, and UMass Global, formerly Brandman University, have partnered to offer students courses in cybersecurity, data analytics, data science and software engineering.
The partnership is focusing on working adults and non-traditional students who are seeking skills for jobs in technical careers. The program will include mentor-led learning, project-based curricula, career support and job placement services, the schools said.
The remote, online learning program through UMass Global is “self-paced” and six months long. Enrollment opens Jan. 31. Students can enroll or sign up to be notified about enrollment updates at careerbootcamps.umassglobal.edu.
Status Update is compiled from press releases by contributing writer Karen Levin and edited by Business Editor Samantha Gowen. Submit items and high-resolution photos to sgowen@scng.com. Allow at least one week for publication. Items are edited for length and clarity.

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