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THE AEROSPACE INDUSTRY is no stranger to the re-appearance of famous names as companies that develop leading-edge technologies are acquired by larger corporations. In that sense, Collins Aerospace has come full circle back to the day in 1933 that Arthur Collins founded his namesake company, Rockwell Collins, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Young Arthur was quite a whiz in HF communication technology and his company has never looked back.

Acquired by Rockwell International in 1973, Rockwell Collins was itself acquired by United Technologies in 2018 for $30 billion. That deal brought into an already impressive stable of over 1200 Canadian employees located at five main facilities across Canada. Employing skilled labour and technicians, engineers and researchers, Collins Aerospace has the kind of footprint that every government desires to deliver high-value technologies across market segments, and has an eye on growth going forward.

Managing Director of Collins Aerospace Missions Systems in Canada, Lee Obst, described a "bow wave" of acquisitions arising from the defence document, "Strong, Secure, Engaged", and believes his company is well placed to capture several contracts.

"The merger with UTC Aerospace Systems gives us a rich portfolio of innovative capabilities and technologies from which to draw. At the same time, we are committed to developing and expanding our local capabilities and leveraging our expertise into the export market. Canadians shouldn't view multinationals as a threat but as an opportunity to be bigger players in world markets."

As well-established suppliers for Canadian military and commercial users, Obst says Collins Aerospace has advanced product lines in communications, avionics, space, simulation and training, mechanical systems, aircraft interiors and all the engineering, integration and testing that a civilian or military client could ask for.

Specifically, Ottawa is the hub and home to some critical tactical communications systems in use by the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Army. They not only build modernized HF radios, but communication simulation software that let customers know what could happen under various scenarios before the scenario is a reality. Winnipeg is home to engineering and production of interior solutions primarily used in commercial aircraft. The company's Oakville facility makes and tests landing gear systems, and in Montreal Collins supplies Bombardier with installation and integration of avionics.

"A lot of things used in everyday life were first developed for commercial aerospace," Obst explained. With that in mind, military aircraft are seeing a cross pollination of a previously commercially based and developed Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system. Scalable from four-engined "heavies" to regional jets and private aircraft, Pro Line Fusion allows pilots to have situational awareness, weather alerts, and landmarks streamed into the cockpit. Data that allow a rotor or fixed wing pilot to know how or what his aircraft is doing under different circumstances appears on a touch screen, and the screens can be switched by the pilot to give him/her different data sets as required.

Collins Aerospace also has personnel at Canada's major airports (Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, and Montreal) to install and integrate Information Management Systems (IMS). What Obst called the "data pipe" is a stream of information that keeps hundreds of moving parts and services at an airport moving in some semblance of order.

Collins is looking too at opportunities in the autonomous vehicle field, whether it's a spy-in-the-sky over a battlefield or transport manoeuvring city streets. Obst says they're not in the automotive sector at this point but is happy to look for opportunities to apply technology where it makes sense.

Obst explained that the Collins Aerospace divisions in Canada are exploring "a lot of new frontiers, making it an innovative and exciting place to work." Being a former CF-18 pilot probably accustomed him to keeping an eye on multiple targets.

All in all, Collins Aerospace in Canada seems to be focused on delivering an extensive capability base to its Canadian military and commercial customer base through over 1200 employees from coast-to-coast. The company intends to provide innovation leadership across all divisions operating in Canada and is open for the next challenge, whether that be in deployment of tactical communications systems for DND, avionics repair and maintenance for Bombardier, or even in Space--Collins Aerospace stands ready to support Canada.

Caption: ABOVE RIGHT: Collins Aerospace, Managing Director of Missions Systems, Lee Obst

Caption: ABOVE: Proline Fusion avionics solution to be used for the Viking led Avionics Upgrade Program (AUP) for Canadair CL-215T.

Caption: RIGHT: RT-2200A Wideband HF Radio made in Canada.

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Title Annotation:EYE ON INDUSTRY
Author:Scott, Jim
Publication:Esprit de Corps
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jun 1, 2019
Next Article:Breakout from Juno: First Canadian Army and the Norman Campaign, July 4-August 21 1944.

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