Swift Engineering

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Swift Engineering Inc.
IndustryAerospace/Aviation, UAS
Founded1983; 37 years ago (1983)
california, USA
Area served
Key people
Number of employees
ParentMatsushita International Corp
  • Swift Xi Inc. (60% Owner)[4]
  • Swift Tactical Systems Inc.[5][6]
  • Swift Global Communications inc.
  • Swift Avionics & Control Systems Inc.
  • Swift Robotics Technologies Inc.

Swift Engineering is an American engineering firm that builds intelligent systems and advanced vehicles, including autonomous systems, helicopters, submarines, spacecraft, ground vehicles, robotics, and advanced composites. Swift was most notable for producing racing cars for a variety of open-wheel racing series, including Formula Ford, Formula Atlantic, the Champ Car World Series and Formula Nippon and had designed and fabricated over 500 race cars.


Swift Engineering was founded as SWIFT CARS in 1983 by David Bruns, Alex Cross, R. K. Smith, and Paul White.[7] Their first car, the DB-1, was a Formula Ford 1600 which won the SCCA National Championship in its debut race.[8] The company later built cars for Sports 2000, Formula Ford 2000, Formula Atlantic and CART. Swift chassis won the Atlantic Championship from 1989 to 1992 and British Formula Renault in 1990.

In 1991, Swift was purchased by Panasonic executive and former Indycar racing driver Hiro Matsushita[9] grandson of Konosuke Matsushita[10]-founder of Panasonic, who renamed the firm Swift Engineering. Under his direction, Swift moved up to the CART World Series for 1997, with two cars entered by Newman/Haas Racing and driven by Michael Andretti and Christian Fittipaldi. In CART, Swifts got four wins and 24 podiums from 182 race entries. Tarso Marques was the last driver to race a Swift chassis in CART in the 2000 season.

From 2000 Swift Engineering started to provide vertically integrated, multi-disciplined, product development services including design, development, engineering, testing, and rapid manufacturing of prototypes, demonstrators, and pre-production articles.

In 2018, Swift Engineering started its overseas office forming, a joint venture with Kobe Institute of Computing called Swift-Xi Inc in Kobe, Japan providing data, logistics, and operations of autonomous and robotic technologies.

Racing cars[edit]

In 1998, Swift became the sole supplier for the new spec regulation Toyota Atlantic Championship. In 2006, the Atlantic race series became a part of the Champ Car (formerly CART) organization and was renamed the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda. Swift built an entirely new car for the series, using 016.a as a chassis code. Swift became the sole supplier of chassis for the Japanese Formula Nippon championship in 2009 with the 017.n chassis (also known as the FN09).[11] An updated model called SF13 was used in 2013. A derivative of the 017.n, the 020.I, was proposed by the company in response to Indy Lights' requirement for a new chassis for the 2014 season.[12]

Year Car Racing Series
1983 Swift DB1 Formula Ford 1600
1984 Swift DB2 Sports 2000
1988 Swift DB4 Formula Atlantic
1989 Swift DB3 Formula Ford 2000
1990 Swift DB5 Sports 2000
1991 Swift DB6 Formula Ford 1600/2000
1997 Swift 007.i CART [13]
1998 Swift 008.a Formula Atlantic
1998 Swift 009.c CART
1999 Swift 010.c CART
2000 Swift 011.c CART
2002 Swift 014.a Formula Atlantic
2006 Swift 016.a Formula Atlantic
2009 Swift 017.n Formula Nippon [14]


Beginning in 1997, Swift diversified into aerospace/aviation markets, working with major companies including Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, NASA, SpaceX, Sikorsky, and others.

Killer Bee[edit]

Swift Engineering designed, built, and delivered the runway-independent Killer Bee blended wing UAV and its mobile launch/retrieval system in 2002. Northrop Grumman bought the Killer Bee UAV product line from Swift Engineering, and renamed it as the Northrop Grumman Bat in April 2009.[15] It has been used primarily as an ISR gathering tool, and features a 10-ft wingspan with 30-lb payload capacity.

Eclipse 400[edit]

In 2007 Swift Engineering produced the prototype Eclipse 400 single-engine jet aircraft under contract to Eclipse Aviation. The aircraft was built in secrecy at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia and first flown on 2 July 2007.[16] Swift supplies high-strength, low-weight composite parts and assemblies to a number of aerospace industry customers. Engineering consultancy and the design and production of tooling for composite parts are further aspects of the business.[17]

Sikorsky–Boeing SB-1 Defiant[edit]

Swift Engineering Inc. joined the Sikorsky-Boeing team in 2015 to support the development of the Sikorsky–Boeing SB-1 Defiant Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR TD), with design and manufacturing of a significant portion of the airframe structure.[18]


In 2014 Swift started developing the Swift020 fully electric, fully autonomous VTOL UAS. This aircraft is runway independent and transitions to horizontal flight through its autopilot software. [19] the first UAS featuring X-blade technology, made its first fully autonomous flight demonstration in the city of Kobe, Japan on July 21, 2018.[20] It takes off and lands like a quadrotor but transitions to efficient fixed-wing forward flight without additional launch and recovery equipment, vastly reducing operational time and cost.[21][22] It has a 4-meter wingspan, 2–3 hours of endurance, and a 1.5-kg payload.

Swift Ultra Long Endurance (SULE)[edit]

In 2018 Swift proposed to design, fabricate, and fly a Swift Ultra Long Endurance (SULE)30-day mission HALE UAS with flight tests including 24-hrs, 48-hrs, and 7-days during the Phase 2 timeline for Nasa[23]. All operations, ground control, safety, reviews, and payload will be included in these test flights and within the proposed 2-year timeframe.[24] Swift HALE completed its first test flight in New Mexico in 2020 with the partnership with NASA[25]

Naval Technology[edit]

XLUUV submarine[edit]

In 2017 Swift Engineering designed, fabricated, and delivered QTY 10, 10-ft Iridium NEXT payload adapter cylinders, structures for a 50 ft. XLUUV unmanned submarine.


Swift Engineering has been nominated and recognized multiple times in the past few years for its program management techniques and its quality management techniques due to the extensive programs Swift has been involved with.

  • 2012 - Swift Engineering received the JEC Americas Innovation Award for its out of autoclave process[26]
  • 2012 - Northrop Grumman Small Business Supplier of the Year, awarded from 1500 suppliers
  • 2013 - Swift Engineering has been chosen as a "Best in Class" A&D Company to Watch by Aviation Week[27]
  • 2015 - Boeing Supplier of the Year nomination in 2015
  • 2017 - Swift Engineering was awarded "Best Intrapreneurship" by OCTANe, Orange County's technology, and life sciences accelerator organization, during the annual High Tech Innovations event held Oct. 13, 2017, in Newport Beach, CA.[28]
  • 2018 - Swift proposed to design, fabricate, and fly a Swift Ultra Long Endurance (SULE) 30-day mission HALE UAS with flight tests including 24-hrs, 48-hrs, and 7-days during the Phase 2 timeline for Nasa. All operations, ground control, safety, reviews, and payload will be included in these test flights and within the proposed 2-year timeframe. [29]
  • 2019 - Swift Engineering has been selected out of 25 companies around the world to install a UAS academy for the Ministry of National Security (Bahamas), to deploy a suite of drones to support the country's command, control, communication, and ISR efforts.,[30][31]
  • 2019 Swift is delivering a pair of low-cost (90% reduction), low weight (50% reduction) telepresence robotic arm replacements to NASA for their Valkyrie humanoid robotic assembly.
  • 2019 - Swift Engineering has been selected for the design and construction of Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) Airframe for Sikorsky.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.autoracing1.com/pl/270247/ Swift Engineering, Inc. Selected as Formula Nippon Chassis Supplier. “It is a tremendous honor to have been selected as the chassis provider for this prestigious race series" says Hiro Matsushita, chairman and CEO of Swift Engineering
  2. ^ "Swift-Ops". Swift Engineering. May 30, 2017.
  3. ^ "Swift-X". Swift Engineering. May 30, 2017.
  4. ^ "Swift-Xi | Accelerating Social Innovation". swift-xi.com.
  5. ^ https://www.swifttacticalsystems.com/ Swift Tactical Systems
  6. ^ https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/swift-tactical-systems-lands-17m-national-drone-and-services-contract-300984323.html%7C Swift Tactical Systems Lands $17M National Drone and Services Contract
  7. ^ "Rekindling The Flame". Archived from the original on August 25, 2006.
  8. ^ "First Win PR" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-07.
  9. ^ https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1997-sep-24-sp-35775-story.html/ HIRO AT LARGE
  10. ^ https://www.panasonic.com/global/corporate/history/konosuke-matsushita.html/ The Founder, Konosuke Matsushita
  11. ^ "2009 Formula Nippon cars to be made in USA".
  12. ^ Pruett, Marshall (August 28, 2012). "INDYCAR: Swift Files 2014 Indy Lights Proposal". SPEED Channel. Fox Sports. Archived from the original on August 30, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  13. ^ https://beyondtheflag.com/2018/09/28/cart-season-review-1997-ppg-world-series/ wift 007.i chassis, which was driven by Micheal Andretti.
  14. ^ https://www.racecar-engineering.com/articles/swift-017-n/ Racecar-Engineering
  15. ^ "Bat Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)".
  16. ^ Trautvetter, Chad (July 2007). "Eclipse Goes Solo with Concept Jet". Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  17. ^ https://minijets.org/en/300-500/pwc-610f/eclipse-concept-jet/ Eclipse Concept Jet (ECJ)
  18. ^ https://www.newswire.com/press-release/swift-joins-sikorsky-boeing-defiant-team-to-deliver-next
  19. ^ https://www.suasnews.com/2020/05/swift-uas-teams-break-new-ground-in-japan/ Swift UAS Teams Break New Ground in Japan
  20. ^ "Swift Engineering Inc. successfully flies VTOL drone Swift020 in Kobe, Japan". sUASNews. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  21. ^ "Swift021 – A Fully Autonomous VTOL UAS". Swift Engineering.
  22. ^ Schroth, Frank (April 29, 2017). "Swift Engineering's VTOL Solutions for the UAS Industry – the Swift 020".
  23. ^ https://www.nasa.gov/feature/ames/nasa-small-business-partnership-prepares-drone-for-30-day-science-flights/ NASA Small Business Partnership Prepares Drone for 30-Day Science Flights
  24. ^ Swift Ultra Long Endurance (SULE) Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV), Phase II
  25. ^ https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200720005719/en/American-Swift-High-Altitude-Long-Endurance-UAS-Completes-Landmark-Flight/ American made Swift High Altitude Long Endurance UAS Completes Landmark Flight
  26. ^ "JEC Innovation Awards Program 2012 - 13 companies rewarded for their composite innovations". JEC Group. February 16, 2012.
  27. ^ "Aviation Week — November 11/18 2013". Aviation Week | The Complete Archive.
  28. ^ http://eecatalog.com/military/2017/11/02/swift-engineering-inc-awarded-by-octane-for-best-intrapreneurship-2017/
  29. ^ https://data.nasa.gov/dataset/Swift-Ultra-Long-Endurance-SULE-Unmanned-Air-Vehic/i9cw-bz9c/data/ Swift Ultra Long Endurance (SULE) Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV), Phase II
  30. ^ http://www.thebahamasweekly.com/publish/bis-news-updates/Government_signs_Contract_for_Law_Enforcement_Aerial_Drones64318.shtml/ Government signs Contract with Swift Engineering for Law Enforcement Aerial Drones
  31. ^ https://thenassauguardian.com/2019/12/17/govt-signs-17-mil-contract-for-drones/
  32. ^ https://www.americanpress.com/news/national/swift-engineering-selected-for-the-design-and-construction-of-fara/article_914c5e05-7c29-5a4d-853c-279f46b57004.html/ swift engineering selected for the design and construction of FARA

External links[edit]