Rockwell Collins - Trailblazing Capability

Rockwell Collins will continue its focus on India and is really enthused with the recent change of government

Issue: 8 / 2014By R. Chandrakanth

Acknowledging the importance of Farnborough International Airshow, Rockwell Collins, a pioneer in the development and deployment of innovative communication and aviation electronic solutions for both commercial and government applications, showcased high-end technologies which wowed the aviation community. Though the joint strike fighter F-35 may have been conspicuous by its absence, an undeterred Rockwell Collins presented the F-35 Helmet Mounted Display Systems (HMDS). In an interview at Farnborough, the Senior Vice President (International & Service Solutions) Colin R. Mahoney spoke about the prospects in India following the change of government here.

SP’s Aviation (SP’s): How has the Farnborough International Airshow been till date for Rockwell Collins?

Colin R. Mahoney (Mahoney): The going has been good so far. Farnborough helps us tell the story of how we are well positioned internationally and how our products fit with international customer needs. More importantly, it allows us to meet new customers in one location very easily. Farnborough is a truly international show and one of the four big shows in the world. One needs to be here to keep the momentum going. We see a broad spectrum of people coming to the show from India, Brazil, China, Japan, Middle East, Latin America and other countries.

SP’s: What is Rockwell Collins focusing on at the show?

Mahoney: This year Farnborough is really exciting and we have on display many offerings such as the F-35 HMDS, MultiScan ThreatTrack Weather Radar, EVS-300 Enhanced Vision System and HeliSure situational awareness system. These are being displayed for the first time at the show. We are pretty excited about the F-35 HMDS and customers visiting our stand can wear the F-35 HMDS and experience what a pilot may experience.

SP’s: You have a presence in about 150 countries. Could you give us a low-down on your India footprint?

Mahoney: We established the Rockwell India Design Centre in Hyderabad in 2008 and the growth of the centre has enthused us to expand our presence. The Hyderabad Centre has a great leader in place and the attrition rate is low and we have plenty of room to grow. The facility has built up to over 600 engineering professionals since its inception in 2008. Besides the India Centre, Rockwell Collins has nurtured its joint ventures/partnerships with Air Works and Indamer which are into general aviation segment.

SP’s: What is your view of the Indian market?

Mahoney: The world is aware of the strength of the emerging economies and India is right on top. Rockwell Collins will continue its focus on India and we are really enthused with the recent change of government. We expect the Bharatiya Janata Party Government led by Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister, will put development on the fast-track. We expect decision-making to be faster and transparent. The new government has already shown the intent to free the decision-making processes.

SP’s: The new Indian Government has announced increase of foreign direct investment (FDI) from 26 to 49 per cent. Do you think that is good enough for global original equipment manufacturers to transfer high-end technologies?

Mahoney: The FDI in defence from 26 to 49 per cent is more or less status quo. The OEMs have been expecting higher equity as to have control and also transfer technologies. Increasing the upper limit of the FDI cap is not going to make significant changes, however the changed mindset of the government is encouraging for not just Rockwell Collins, but also for the other investors.

SP’s: Could you tell us about how the Hyderabad Centre is contributing to Rockwell Collins?

Mahoney: The India Design Centre in Hyderabad is doing extremely well and is contributing significantly to the technology development of the company. For example, the information management systems developed for the A350 which is a ‘trailblazing capability’, is from the Centre. It is brand new technology and is the result of the synergised efforts of Airbus, Rockwell Collins at Cedar Rapids, USA and the India Design Centre in Hyderabad.The Hyderabad Centre has a great leader in place and the attrition rate is low and we have plenty of room to grow. The facility which started in 2008, now has over 600 engineering professionals and continues to expand.

SP’s: Which of the two businesses, commercial and government, is adding to Rockwell’s revenues from India?

Mahoney: It is skewed towards commercial with majority of the airlines in India equipped with Rockwell Collins solutions. As regards defence, Rockwell Collins is looking at the Battle Management Systems (BMS), naval communication, etc. The focus is to bring the best of Rockwell Collins technologies to India.