‘We do have a strong offset strategy across Rockwell Collins’
Rockwell Collins is growing rapidly, thanks to its global strategies and values. Excerpts of a conversation between Colin Mahoney, the Senior Vice President (International and Service Solutions) Rockwell Collins and Jayant Baranwal, Editor-in-Chief, SP’s
SP’s: Does the Boeing P-8I have any Rockwell content? Mahoney: Yes, everything including cockpit and avionics. The airplane comes with complete Rockwell Collins communication navigation surveillance system. It is max version, so when you get max version you get Rockwell Collins displays, autopilot, and extensive flight deck capabilities. Jayant Baranwal (SP’s): Could you give a brief overview of Rockwell Collins? Colin Mahoney (Mahoney): We started 80 years ago as a communications company and have maintained the heritage and advanced it. Our portfolio includes core aviation electronics, displays, autopilots, flight management systems, communication navigation surveillance, and mission computers. We have head-up guidance systems very familiar in the defence environment and becoming increasingly popular in the commercial environment too. SP’s: Besides aviation, could you indicate your footprint in the other forces and the entities at sea? Mahoney: In network-centric operations, we have got to have an element of ground activity, surface either army or naval. Targeting systems are a big deal for us and when you think of being in a coalition environment, it is important to bring all the forces to bear in the battlefield. We have a lot of targeting and joint fire capabilities in the domain of surface solutions in our government business. In naval, of course there are satellite communication, sub-net relays, ad hoc networks, etc. It is all aviation electronics and how we tailor that to the ground environment. SP’s: This means that the involvement of Rockwell Collins is likely to increase in India gradually? Are you hoping to get a good share of business once the battlefield management system (BMS) gets finalised? Mahoney:: That is what we are planning for sure. As new airplanes come into this market we are more often than not a big part of the C-17, C-130, etc. These carrier planes come in foreign military sales (FMS) environment and generally have got Rockwell Collins content. SP’s: Which is beneficial for your company – FMS route or the direct commercial sales (DCS) route? Mahoney: We are kind of agnostic. Our presence in India will drive counter-countermeasure equipment and GPS on aircraft use by defence forces through our customer the Electronics Corporation oF InDIA LtD (ECIL).
We do face more challenges on the defence side related to indigenisation, export laws and only in recent years are being able to do defence business with India. It does take time to build relationships and make progress in new countries as we have seen that in Brazil and the Middle East. We believe we will succeed in India as well. results in either category. We think we are good and ultimately we cannot make you decide whether you want to procure via FMS or DCS. What we can do is make sure you are fully aware of everything we provide. At the end of the day, it is DCS or FMS, the teams in India would have done their work. SP’s: Could you outline the range of Rockwell Collin’s technologies and services in military markets? Mahoney: We have very strong presence in fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. Helicopters radars, we are pretty much on AgustaWestland in communication and surveillance and they have shown proven capabilities in flying airplanes and battlefield systems.
In securing communication environment in network-centric operations we are a big player. There is an increasing demand everywhere, including India. Targeted solutions, electronic warfare solutions are some of our defence capabilities.
In India, for defence applications, we are focused on communications, avionics and situational awareness solutions for helicopters, satellite communications, electronic warfare (EW), and networking systems. Today, we have radios, GPS and EW equipment on multiple military aircraft, including the following example customers: • ECIL For ElECtronIC CountEr-CountErmEAsurE rADIo moDulEs • HAL For DO 228 (CommunICAtIon AnD nAvIGAtIon EquIpmEnt) -
end customers are Navy, Coast Guard and Indian Air Force (IAF) • InDIAn SpACE REsEArCH OrGAnIsAtIon • IAF For CommunICAtIon, nAvIGAtIon In plAtForms suCH As C-130,
C-17 and future Helos (Apache and Chinook). • WE HAvE mAny CustomErs wItH our ARC 210 AnD TAlon rADIos on
plAtForms suCH As tHE DO 228 For tHE NAvy. As wEll As ElECtronIC SP’s: Could you tell us about the design centre in Hyderabad? Mahoney: The design centre is the operating arm of engineering business. Our vision for Rockwell Collins’ India Design Centre is to support
‘We fully expect many of the future programmes in India to be “Make India” programmes, so teaming with Indian partners has been and will continue to be a key element in our strategy’
local and international governments, aerospace OEMs, and contractors with engineering design services and systems that can help customers achieve a shorter time to market, at a lower programme or project lifecycle cost, with the highest quality innovative solutions.
SP’s: What has been the expansion strategy and which are the target markets for your company? Mahoney:
WE ArE prEsEnt In 27 CountrIEs AnD HAvE sErvICE CEntrEs In 13 countries. In military, we have an offering called Flexforce which is performance based logistics. Everybody is rewarded for success and the product is there when you need it. A performance based environment is better way than the historic approach in which if a part breaks, the customer sends it to the company and is charged for that. The performance based approach is cost-effective and is helping us expand our customer point touch network.
SP’s: Which country in Asia is your topmost strategic partner as of today? Mahoney:
From the defence perspective, India is in the top of the list. With the refining of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), India is where opportunity exists for us and that’s why the level of focus from our company.
In South Korea, I will take a European analogy. Turkey for example years ago embarked upon making their industry indigenous. Unfortunately for us, we did not see that happening and we embarked upon the journey a bit too late. We weren’t part of the infrastructure development and we tried to put in niche products. In Korea, it is fast forward, it looks like Turkey of 10 years ago. We started developing assets for Korea and help develop indigenous capabilities. India’s defence industry aspires to become indigenous. The last DPP was very specific in terms of source selection. We have got to be part of infrastructure aviation by not just bringing products but partnering with companies in India to accomplish the mission.
SP’s: India has been fine-tuning its offset and defence procurement procedure. Is it creating a friendly environment for global companies to participate? Mahoney:
The DPP policy is crystal clear. They are steering your acquisition approach. That is different from the turkey example. It’s written down with clarity. Of course you want to be self-sufficient considering your relations with China and Pakistan. We understand your need for transfer of technologies. It is perfectly clear to us. We don’t find it unfair.
We fully expect many of the future programmes in India to be “Make India” programmes, so teaming with Indian partners has been and will continue to be a key element in our strategy.
Our US Government also values India. However, there are still some challenges with bringing some of our products to India. While we plan to win defence business in India working through partners, and are continuing to develop exportable products, we’re also hopeful that India and the US will ultimately come to an agreement regarding communications and information security.
We do have a strong offset strategy across Rockwell Collins which we can tailor depending on the requirements and initiatives within each country where we do business. As we continue to win business in international growth markets, we are prepared to provide the most attractive offset programmes which truly are a winwin for Rockwell Collins, our partners and our customers.
SP’s: Could you indicate what specific areas Rockwell Collins has identified for business development in conformity with Indian policies? Mahoney:
We opened the business development office in Gurgaon about 18 months ago. It makes us collaborate with partners in India and to understand needs and to help Indian entities know what is available. The Hyderabad centre is a cost-effective place to do business.
As regards specific business development standpoint, the journey that you have set up on advancing your network-centric communication and what we do fits very nicely with that. The partnership with Tatas on software defined radios (SDRs) is a very good example of defence business partnering.
The company’s strength in network-enabled communications, advanced, integrated avionics and communications systems for fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, precision navigation and nose to tail systems for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aligns well with India’s nEEDs. LEvErAGInG CommErCIAl systEms For mIlItAry ApplICAtIons, wE can offer faster time to market and lower cost.
SP’s: The user perception is that India does not get top-end technology. What is your view? Mahoney:
In our case we are quite often in the environment of being at the forefront of technologies. Some we got, some are maturing. We bring that. I think some of your comments are around protection strategies. We have distinct strategy to grow securitisation of communication in India.
SP’s: Is Rockwell Collins working on any technology breakthrough which can benefit our forces? Mahoney:
We just launched a new product line called HeliSure primarily for helicopters. Whether it’s emergency medical services (EMS), law enforcement, search and rescue, or any number of other demanding mission profiles, the very nature of a typical helicopter mission means the aircrew must operate in potentially dangerous environments. HeliSure is the only completely unique portfolio of products that combines 3D visualisation, displays, sensors and databases together to provide unprecedented situational awareness for helicopters.
HeliSure’s scalability and flexibility make it virtually platform agnostic. Sensor data is delivered in real time through an intuitive user interface that features 3D visualisation for information that pilots can easily, quickly and effectively process.
The first two products of the HeliSure family are helicopter synthetic vision system (H-SVS) and helicopter terrain awareness and warning system (H-TAWS). HeliSure could certainly benefit Indian defence forces.
SP’s: You must be excited about P-8I, C-17, C-130. Mahoney:
Every time we come here we get excited. We have been learning to be patient and persistent. We do not take anything for granted in this line. We are going to earn here and we are going to value add for the country. That is the essence of partnership.
We believe that we have to demonstrate a value proposition to our partners. Historically, many US companies often ask what Indian companies bring to the table. We cannot think like that. That is horribly arrogant. We look at it the other way. It is this which makes partnerships work.