Right now, our ground-up program is the Viper. That does not mean that in the future we won't be doing other ground-up programs, but once this next Viper is done, PVO will be focused more on customizations. From a business and profit standpoint, that is the best way to make PVO work, and our long-range planning spells that out. If the corporation desires us to do something from the ground up, it will need to be supported with additional resources. We make money, but we don't make that kind of money. Once the Crossfire is out there, we may be called on for something unique, but that is in the future. If it is U.S.-based, we will do it here. Regardless, we would not do it unilaterally; it would be something that inspires senior management and makes economic sense.
At this point, we finished up and John showed us around the building. There are smaller labs where component designs can be tested; while not as big as DCTC, John appreciates having the PVO Group in its own environment where it's not lost among the huge confines of the larger facility. In the Engineering Garage, the pilot version of the SRT-4 had just arrived, while various Viper prototypes were visible. From his interaction with people, we could tell he's well-known and well-liked in his new role. He left us with a parting story about how PVO is adapting as it grows. In one corner of the garage was a large wooden mock-up covered with wires and hardware. John pointed to it.
"This is a wooden buck that we used on the new Viper to work out the wiring. This allows the engineers to figure out what wires go where and how they will be routed without having to get in and out of a car; it's built to the car's dimensions. We were just getting ready to start engine testing on the Viper and we couldn't get over into CTC because all the dynos were scheduled out. My guys thought about it, and someone said, 'We have these old chassis over here; let's just wire the engine up and we can get some baselines done.' So they took the new engine, dropped it into the chassis, rolled it over here, rigged up some exhaust stuff, and made some umbilical cord-like wires. It worked, and they never missed a beat."
And the beat goes on...