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This article was Originally Published on Aug 25, 2005 in Volume: 4  Issue: 2

Rockwell Collins Government Systems

Interview with Greg Churchill

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

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Greg Churchill has been with Rockwell Collins for 25 years. He provides leadership for all Government Systems businesses, including the company’s international subsidiaries, China Business Development office and Government Operations in Washington, DC. He was named to the position in May 2002.

He recently spent some time talking about the challenges facing companies that are trying to bring improved technology to the warfighter in an environment in which defense budgets are under pressure.

Q: There have been a number of delays or production cuts announced for key programs--JTRS and F-22, for example--and it looks like there may be a tightening of defense budgets that could create additional delays or cuts. What other trends are you seeing, and how is Rockwell Collins responding to these challenges?

A: Certainly defense budgets are being pressured, but at the same time, the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon. While there is still a push toward military transformation, the warfighters are in need of advanced technology today. We see opportunities to bring new technologies to existing platforms.

For example, there continues to be demand for the use of open systems architecture (OSA) to improve life-cycle costs and deliver enhanced capabilities. Rockwell Collins continues to be a market leader in OSA solutions and is providing important technology upgrades for legacy platforms. We are, for example, well on our way to delivering the 100th upgrade for the C/KC-135 Global Air Traffic Management program.

In addition, the Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) that we are providing for U.S. special operations forces helicopters recently completed a series of successful flight tests. Both of these programs are on time and on budget, which is extremely important to our customers.

We are also applying OSA in our integrated computer system for the Army’s Future Combat System (FCS). Although there has been a delay in the fielding of new platforms for that program, there has been an acceleration in the portion of the program in which we are involved, in order to bring that capability to existing ground vehicles.

We have also expanded our presence in Europe with the acquisition of TELDIX, a German company that supplies complex military aircraft computer products to major prime contractors throughout that region. The acquisition gives us a broader reach, especially in the European and international markets, to apply these same OSA technologies into European platforms such as the Eurofighter and the NH90.

Q: You mentioned the dynamic of balancing current and future needs. What is Rockwell Collins doing to help its customers achieve transformation, as well as to bring much needed technology to the warfighter today?

A: We have key roles in many of the transformational programs, like the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS), FCS, Common Cockpit for U.S. Army Aviation and Joint Strike Fighter. In addition to executing on these programs, we are evaluating a number of opportunities to accelerate relevant technologies and deploy them to the warfighter as quickly as possible.

We have made enhancements to a number of Defense Advanced GPS Receivers, the handheld GPS receiver that the Army is deploying, adding radio communications capability. These initial units are being delivered today to the warfighters in Iraq. This new development dramatically enhances the warfighter’s situational awareness by combining GPS data with network-enabled communications.

In addition, through Data Link Solutions, our joint venture with BAE Systems, we are taking the current MIDS Low Volume Terminal, which is widely deployed on fighter aircraft fleets, and making it JTRS compatible. This will allow next-generation communications capabilities to be inserted into the current fleet of fighter jets without expensive aircraft modifications.

Of course, we have an interest in seeing programs like the F-22 and Joint Strike Fighter continue to be funded, not only because we have a good deal of content on both platforms, but also because we believe they offer long-term benefits to the military--lower life-cycle costs, greater reliability and enhanced functionality.

If these new aircraft platform programs are delayed, however, there could be opportunities to upgrade existing fleets, such as the F-15, F-16 and F-18, to bring enhanced functionality to those missions.

In summary, Rockwell Collins is well positioned to meet the present and future needs of our customers, whether they are seeking an upgrade, a replacement or a hybrid of the two.

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