Innovation Propels Raider Outboards
George Woodruff spent over 40 years at IBM, Hughes Aircraft, and Lockheed Martin developing new business in Advanced Technology and Innovation programs. Once he and his wife decided it was time to transition from corporate America, they started Raider Outboards.
Located in Central Florida – near Kennedy Space Center, Raider Outboards design and produce multi-fuel, submersible, lightweight outboard motors and associated parts that include a Safety Jet; transom plates; carts and transportation cages. One of the first successes of the family-owned business came on the heels of winning a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I and II contract for a robotics mast. The SBIR program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization.
In 2011, the company won a competitive contract from the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to design and produce air droppable, submarine launched, multi-fuel, submersible, lightweight outboard motors. The name Raider was given to the new outboards remembering the WWII Marine Raiders who used rubber boats in clandestine missions behind enemy lines. Currently, their customer base includes multiple components of the United States military services; U.S. Navy SEALs; U.S. Air Force Special Tactics; U.S. Army Rangers; FBI; and NASA. In 2018, the company extended its services to the U.S. Marine Corps along with various state and local agencies that operate primarily in the area of search & rescue.
Through creativity and innovation, Raider Outboards have effectively been able to meet rigorous testing and verification of military specifications. Several factors that set their company engines apart use of various fuel types (JP-5/JP-8, diesel, kerosene, bio-fuels and gasoline); ability to submerge up to 18 hours at 66 feet and start within minutes of surfacing; and an electric start with a battery under the cowling and external 12 Vdc connection.
Raider Outboards has six patents and an additional three are pending. The company is under contract with the U.S. Navy to develop an electric outboard for special applications and is pursuing several other avenues of commercial business expansion.