Military defense contracting company, CSI, opens in Charleston

VIDEO: IED and land mine detecting vehicles in Charleston
Published: Jun. 5, 2015 at 8:10 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 5, 2015 at 9:07 PM EDT
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Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - More jobs in defense manufacturing could be headed to Berkeley County in the next one to two years.

Friday a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for Critical Solutions International (CSI).

The military defense contracting company is now globally headquartered on Clements Ferry Road, next to Apex Broadcasting.

CSI is one of the world's leading companies in blast protected vehicles that can detect land mines and improvised explosive device, or IEDs.

The former Dallas, Texas company is now in Charleston, which is already home to several companies that support the military.

"This is a bashing of defense," Patrick Callahan, Chief Executive Officer with CSI, said Friday. "We've got Boeing, Force Protection, now General Dynamics. We have a number of defense contractors that have settled here, so cooperation with partners was extremely important."

"I think it's a win from the standpoint of adding to the defense community that's here," Representative Mark Sanford, (R-SC) said. "The people with talent, who know how to do things, really going all the way back to the days of the Navy yard."

The move was also a geographical benefit.

"We are a product company," Callahan said. "We ship defense articles, vehicles, sensors, all around the world. The ability to ship those out of the Port of Charleston, just a mile away was extremely attractive for us."

Leaders say in the next 12 to 24 months you could be seeing these vehicles manufactured in the Lowcountry.

"Our goal is to ultimately bring production of our Husky platform, as well as potentially some of our various sensors to South Carolina as well," Scott Butler, International Business Development Manager with CSI, said.

"So if we are to win some of those contracts we will have to grow here in the first district, and have more jobs come here for manufacturing," Callahan added.

In the meantime partners will be brought to the Charleston site to test drive different sensor technology.

Those sensors are placed on the Husky, the type of vehicle used, to help detect IEDs and land mines overseas. One of the newest devices is a sensor that will go on the side of the vehicle. It will help locate IEDs as the Husky travels down the road.

Leaders say in the years they've been in business, not one of their vehicles has been destroyed.

They say that's because of their mission of keeping up with the latest technology to detect IEDs and how they're being made.

Right now a majority of the vehicles and sensors are made by CSI's partners in South Africa.

The hope is to get enough manufacturing contracts to expand that production here to South Carolina.

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