Sean Burke, the new program manager for the Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems program office (PMA-262), provides remarks during his change of command ceremony Dec. 18 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD. (U.S. Navy photo)

Patuxent River, MD — The Navy’s Persistent Maritime Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) program office (PMA-262) held a change-of-command ceremony Dec. 18 at Pax River while also bidding “fair winds and following seas” to its program manager, a 29-year naval officer.

Retiring Capt. Jim Hoke turned over command of the Navy’s largest UAS program office to his deputy program manager Sean Burke during the ceremony at the Triton UAS hangar.

“It has been an extraordinary opportunity to see this team hard at work day in and day out,” said Hoke. “It has been an honor to oversee this team during historic program milestones we have achieved over the last few years.”

During his tenure as program manager, Hoke’s team flew more than 13,000 hours with the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstrator (BAMS-D), completed initial envelope expansion and conducted three successful cross-country ferry flights with the MQ-4C Triton UAS.

Hoke, who started his career as a P-3 pilot, supported both manned and unmanned aircraft programs over the last three decades. His involvement with PMA-262 began in 2006. At that time, he served as the final commodore for Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing FIVE in Brunswick, Maine and led the first-ever operational deployment of the Navy’s Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration UAS, now known as BAMS-D. At the time, he wouldn’t have predicted the connection this would have with BAMS-D and MQ-4C Triton UAS a few years later, he said

After serving as chief of staff from the Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons (PEO (U&W)), which oversees PMA-262, Hoke was selected as PMA-262 program manager.

“My experience with BAMS-D and gaining knowledge from the PEO staff helped me easily transition into the job,” said Hoke. “I know maintaining continuity within the program office and having Sean lead the team will prove to be valuable. We have worked together for three-and-a- half years and I can think of no better person to take over command of PMA-262.”

Burke, a former Marine Corps officer and AH-1W helicopter pilot, brought his extensive operational experience to the acquisition community in 1998. Prior to joining PMA-262, he provided leadership and management to the Unmanned Carrier Launched Aerial Surveillance and Strike System, Joint Strike Fighter, EP-X, VH-71 Presidential Helicopter Replacement, among other missile, rocket and ammunition programs.

Burke held the PMA-262 deputy program manager position since April 2011. This change of command marks a significant milestone for Burke, as well as the program, by being one of only two civilians at NAVAIR to take the reins of large acquisition category (ACAT) 1 program.

“This is an exceptional team and it is an honor to be given this opportunity,” he said. “I look forward to seeing all that this team is capable of as we approach the many important program milestones ahead of us.”