Rockwell Collins Eminently Positioned for Partnerships in India
On October 7, Rockwell Collins and Zen Technologies signed a memorandum of understanding to combine their strengths in simulation and training to offer industry-leading, high fidelity solutions to Indian military customers. Rockwell Collins, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with facilities in Hyderabad and near New Delhi, provides world-class aviation simulation and training products, systems and integration solutions. Zen Technologies, based in Hyderabad, specialises in supplying industry-leading ground military simulation and training solutions. Talking about this partnership and Rockwell Collins road map in the region are Jim Walker, Vice President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific and LeAnn Ridgeway, Vice President and General Manager, Simulation and Training Solutions, Rockwell Collins.
SP’s M.A.I. (SP’s): Could you tell us about how you zeroed in on Zen Technologies for the partnership?
LeAnn Ridgeway (LeAnn): We have been looking for good partners in India for quite some time. We have been familiar with Zen Technologies for better part of last seven years. As political restrictions open up in India, it became apparent to us that the time was now to move forward to find the correct partner. We have a due diligent process wherein we look at reputation, performance, financials, capabilities etc of many companies and we found that Zen Technologies is one of the best partners for us to move forward.
The beauty of Zen is there is very little overlap. Rockwell Collins has some ground capabilities whereas Zen has more advanced capabilities. We see that as a synergy. We both have a little bit of UAVs and there is room there where we can work together. SP’s: Given their limited footprint in aerospace market, was that some kind of an impediment to discussions? LeAnn: No, not at all. It is one of the things that attracted us. When we looked at their capabilities, facilities, engineering etc it became apparent that they are good partners for us to bring the air market here. We have products in India but we don’t have full flight simulators in India. We see their combined ability to penetrate the market. We don’t see that as an impediment at all.
SP’s: Any similar MoUs or joint ventures you have entered into in the Asian market?
LeAnn: In China, we have recently entered into a joint venture with BlueSky. We have a good business model to grow in the region.
SP’s: What are your expectations of the Indian market? Is it a big military simulation market?
LeAnn: When we look at India from a growth perspective, there are indigenous full flight simulators. The market is absolutely ready for indigenous make and the policies and local politics are shaping up around that. The solutions we have created are suitable for Indian market, we have done that in Brazil and China. India is our next
opportunity. The training/simulation market dovetails what the platforms are going to be. When we look at the global market as far as aircraft platforms are concerned we notice that India is the third largest market in terms of growth projections.
We are going to focus on military segment as the commercial segment is very competitive and saturated right now. For the selective and collective success, we will focus on the defence market.
SP’s: Can you name the key platforms of military market where you are offering solutions?
LeAnn: In the rotary-wing, we are well positioned with solutions for Chinook and Apache helicopters. Those platforms are coming into India. For fixed-wing, we have solutions for all types of military market, PI8, transport tanker market etc. Rockwell Collins is eminently positioned in the fighter market. We have visual solutions on F-15, F-16, joint strike fighter aircraft market. We have visual solutions on some European fighters with BAe. We have good positions in the training market for that segment of the fighters.
SP’s: What about land systems for the army... are you present with simulators?
LeAnn: We have JTAC (joint terminal attack controller) for ground solutions for the dismounted soldier. We have also some maintenance solutions on MRAP and striker vehicles. Zen has lot of technologies for shooters, tank simulators and that is very complimentary to us.
SP’s: Jim, what are your thoughts on the Asian market, the challenges and the opportunities?
Jim Walker ( Jim): The Asian market is a pretty big market for us. Rockwell Collins has a long history of engagement in Asia-Pacific in terms of commercial solutions. We have positions on all the Airbus and Boeing platforms. We have positions with most of the major airlines, including the low-cost carriers. We dominate that market. As capacity and air traffic grows within the region, biggest growing regions in the world in terms of commercial aircraft, aviation business, we continue to partner with those airlines. We got a number of key solutions that we offer such as avionics, air weather radar, TCAS (traffic alert and collision avoidance) solutions. We have brought into the market for single aisle jets, new inflight entertainment systems which we just launched in Bangladesh for Biman on its Boeing 737 aircraft.
As regards, business jets we are strong in Asia-Pacific, particularly in China. We have had very key successes in China having signed MoU with AVIC for systems on MA700 regional airliner. We are on board the ARJ21 and the C919 programmes.
In terms of military system business, we have not been here as long as commercial business. But from the FMS and direct perspective we have been on most of the major platforms with US delivering in Asia-Pacific. They are based around Australia, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan. As we move and grow into India which is the Third largest growing military market in the world, we see a number of key niche areas such as networked enabled communications, providing software defined radio for the navy and also for the army in terms of battle management systems.
Recently with Tata we have demonstrated to the Army the SDR and also the networked enabled communications which is a big part.
The second part is avionics. And we have positions on the Dornier, we have GPS solutions, electronic countermeasures etc.
In terms of land systems’ opportunities, we want to see what the market holds for India. We cannot just build the market by programmes because it becomes a bit lumpy. We have been doing lot to sell basic products through PSUs and private companies as well. We
see the military market emerging. SP’s: Which would be other important markets in the region?
Jim: Australia, clearly because of its length of time we have been there and the close relationship the US has with Australia. Korea is another one. We have strong partnerships around the fighter, indigenous helicopter programme and also the upgrades on Chinook and Black Hawk. Japan is an emerging market for us from a military sense. Australia, Japan, Korea and India are very key to Rockwell Collins.
SP’s: What is your take on ‘Make in India’ programme and the increase in foreign direct investment announced by the new government?
Jim: The ‘Make in India’ programme fits in very well with Rockwell Collins programmes. We have traditionally long-term partnerships with companies where we develop technologies. We believe that just manufacturing within the country is not going to develop your capability. What is going to develop your capability is transfer of technology and co-development. Partnership with Zen is really a classic example of how we work together. Over time we will build this relationship, transfer technologies and start on particular programmes. As we grow together, the trust and relationship builds. The move by the Narendra Modi Government to increase FDI promotes confidence into companies like Rockwell Collins who want to have deeper relationship. We want to grow together and go to the world together.
SP’s: Do you have any road map worked out for expansion in the market?
Jim: We have a road map. Network enabled communication has been fundamental. It is our legacy, if you like. We have a number of key programmes we are working on with Selex and BEL on the Finsas programme, with Tatas for the SDRr programme, and also for TCS solutions; and moving forward we are looking at integrated avionics and flight supplies of sensors etc. We have developed Helisure, which provides first of type for the pilot in terms of synthetic vision and terrain awareness. There are niche technologies and capabilities we have been renowned for and we want to bring them to India.
LeAnn: With Zen Technologies, there is a unique value proposition Rockwell Collins has to offer and that no other competitor in training and simulation has. We can bring to the market is integrated avionics solution in training. We have found cost savings for the end customer and also nearly one hundred per cent concurrency in what we are co-developing. That is a huge value proposition. That is when we know we have arrived.
SP’s: You have an engineering facility in Hyderabad? Could you tell us how that fits into your plan?
Jim: The Hyderabad facility was established to provide couple of things, low-cost engineering. From software verification capability to system engineering, we are improving the capability. It helps us in product development and we use it for developing new business within India; and thirdly help us with engineering support.
LeAnn: In the training and simulation side, we are doing a lot of database development here in Hyderabad and that is hugely important.
SP’s: How is the integration with ARINC?
Jim: In Asia-Pacific it is doing particularly well. Earlier this year, we started leveraging each others products. We have been able to identify a number of niche areas where we can complement each other.
LeAnn:: We have identified several areas and Rockwell Collins is moving into the virtual training scenarios. We bring secure communications, avionics, we bring diverse range of capabilities.
Jim Walker, Vice President and Managing Director,
Asia Pacific, Rockwell Collins
LeAnn Ridgeway, Vice President and General Manager, Simulation and Training Solutions, Rockwell Collins