WASHINGTON – The knight in a chess game is a unique piece because it is free to leap across the others for strategic advantages and tactful intuition to help win the game. Knight Technical Solutions, a small business and finalist in the U.S. Army’s xTechSearch 3 competition, draws from that meaning when it comes to supporting the Army and securing big wins for Soldiers.
The company’s founder and president, Tony Davila, is a retired lieutenant colonel with more than 33 years of experience serving in the Army. Following his retirement in 2015, Davila decided to start his own engineering company to address a problem he noticed during his service: the availability of replacement engines on a variety of military vehicles was limited, and the engine design was too complex and prone to breaking down, requiring days to weeks for repair. Soldiers on the ground were spending too much time laboring over engine maintenance instead of training for their missions.
After conducting internal research and development, Knight Technical Solution developed a patented fixed-displacement turbine engine in 2020, earning the company a finalist spot in the xTechSearch 3 competition.
Like the mobility of the knight in chess, the engine’s technology uses mobilization to improve the Army’s strategic advantage and vehicle performance. The engine is small, lightweight and power-dense, with a modular and scalable design that can be used in large vehicles and smaller machines, such as power generators. The final design will enable engine replacement to be as simple as popping out an old ink cartridge in a printer and putting in a new one.
“At the Soldier level, maintenance is very simple,” Davila said. “The simple design of the FDT, with its inherent durability and reliability, will enable Soldiers to focus on warfighting missions and training by reducing the system demands on maintenance and repair at the motor pool.”
The company progressed through the multiple phases of xTechSearch 3, earning a finalist spot and cash prize of over $140,000. xTech, led by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, is an Army initiative to award and accelerate transformative science and technology innovations, developed with Soldier input, that can help solve the Army’s readiness and modernization challenges.
Davila said he wished a program like xTech existed when he was a Soldier to help the Army speed up technology development and integration.
“S&T that is abundant in the market today, which starts from secondary school all the way to university and post-academia, is now being reflected back into uniform in the Army,” Davila said. “Soldiers not only question technology and how it’s being developed, and how it will help them do their mission, but now they get to say, ‘I want to be part of that.’ They can contribute and be a part of the innovative solution.”
Davila has built both Knight Technical Solutions and their engine with a real-life Soldier need in mind – less time spent in maintenance and more time focused on the mission. The viability of large-scale combat vehicles can make or break a lethal situation. The engine is still in development but has made significant advances since its xTech award; as it matures, Davila is hopeful for a full-integration opportunity soon.
Davila witnessed firsthand how readiness can be impacted by cumbersome technology. Small and non-traditional businesses, such as Knight Technical Solutions, participate in xTech competitions to showcase their commitment to our nation’s military by solving real-life Soldier challenges. For more information on Knight Technical Solutions, visit their website at https://ktx-hsv.com.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology provides the American Soldier with a decisive advantage in any mission by developing, acquiring, fielding and sustaining the world's finest equipment and services, and by leveraging technologies and capabilities to meet current and future Army needs.