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25 February 2015

Rockwell Collins focussing on delivering Middle East defence customers with higher levels of interoperability

Rockwell Collins is focussing on delivering Middle East defence customers with higher levels of interoperability in order to conduct joint operations, a senior executive has proclaimed.

Speaking to Military Technology at the International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi on 22 February, Claude Alber, VP and managing director, Europe, Middle East & Africa at the company, described the joint operational environment as the greatest capability gap in the market.

“We are listening to the market and working on these requirements in the region,” he explained. “The Middle East has some really advanced customers who are looking for advanced technology to really make the most of their effective and efficient forces.”

Specifically, Alber described the company’s ongoing strategy to increase its foothold in the country, with offices already having been established in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and most recently Riyadh. Furthermore, the company expressed its intention to extend its number of partnerships with the private sector in the area.

Rockwell Collins is already associated with AEC for in-country production and support of its airborne solutions, including cockpits.

With regards to specific programmes, Rockwell Collins has completed deliveries of its FireStorm integrated targeting system to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces. The company is also concentrating on Link 16 data link technology for a number of undisclosed forces, Alber continued.

“We have a growing presence in the region with investment and partnerships in the region, especially with many countries operating Rotary Wing assets and Fixed Wing platforms with our cockpit and radio technology. The Middle East is an important market and part of EMEA but i would describe it as the growth engine.”

Alber also revealed that the company would use September’s DSEi exhibition in London to launch a new variant of its FireStorm system. This latest variant, he said, would provide a solution demonstrating weight and volume savings up to 40% in comparison to legacy technology.

The latest FireStorm system will include the MV35 Helmet Mounted Display; VDR antenna; data hub with power management system; radio and antenna; video downlink receiver; laser range finder; and tablet computer which replaces the ruggedised laptop.

The system is designed to provide the position of friendly forces and other situation awareness data as well as designate enemy positions for networking to Joint Fires platforms for kinetic execution.

At IDEX in 2013, Rockwell Collins agreed a Dh146.9 million contract with the UAE armed forces for an undisclosed number of FireStorm systems. Alber confirmed that all systems had now been delivered to the armed forces, with the company now ensuring sustainment in support for the capability.

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