Face-To-Face With Rockwell Collins’s New CEO

By Joseph C. Anselmo
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

When does your defense business hit bottom?

We would expect that sector to be stable by 2015. The Defense Department budget may still be declining slightly, but it won't be the large cuts we're seeing in sequestration. And there will be some clarity. The real issue for our industry is the lack of clarity on where they are going to spend the money. That has got everybody making assumptions.

Is there a lot of lobbying of program managers?

The interesting thing is, all the program managers believe their programs won't be cut. Every program manager is telling us that. Meanwhile, reality is working its way down. So far, there haven't been a lot of program cancellations. But you may see some program cuts in 2014 as the budget gets rationalized.

Many of the companies we talk with are just like the program managers. They all say, 'We're on the programs that won't get cut.'

We've chosen not to take that approach. Almost every platform that flies has Rockwell Collins equipment on it. And to think we're not going to feel some impact is foolish. I'd rather be out in front forecasting it. The people who are in denial are being disappointed as reality starts to take hold.

If your top goal is to accelerate growth, where is it going to come from?

The first area, which is the easiest, is growing market share in our core business. We have 14 new Pro Line Fusion flight decks—our avionics solution for business aviation—in development. There are also [large aircraft] programs that will be kicking in over the next five years. We have new positions on the Airbus A350 and Boeing 737 MAX. We need to execute on those programs and ride the market share gain we've already captured. The second element is exploiting the services that go with our products. Once we get on an aircraft it gives us opportunities to have a larger share of the MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) market. On the government side we see pockets of growth, primarily internationally. We've won the new KC-390 [military transport] with Embraer. Brazil is a perfect example of a market we just didn't address in the past, because we had enough opportunities at home. The Middle East is another region where we see growth. Whenever the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) sell any large platforms, we ride their coattails. For example, F-15s and Black Hawks for Saudi Arabia are big for us. There is also strong demand in the Middle East for targeting systems. Our product, FireStorm, allows a forward observer to designate and communicate target coordinates for precision strike. As the U.S. pulls out [of a region] we're seeing more demand for such capability.

Can you talk about the Joint Strike Fighter helmet program?

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