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By Julian Nettlefold

BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold met up with Chris Reith the new Managing Director at Exelis Defence Ltd, replacing John Wall who has recently retired.

It was over 20 years ago that the Editor, as a consultant to the fledgling ITT Defence UK, based in a small office in Maidenhead, launched the BOWMAN radio in December 1992 at the Sheraton Hotel at Heathrow. Now that fledgling business, based in Basingstoke, is the heart of the Exelis defence business in Europe, the only manufacturing facility for Exelis outside the USA. The ITT name was dropped in July 2013.

On Jan. 12, 2011, ITT announced that its board of directors has unanimously approved a plan to separate the company’s businesses into three distinct, publicly traded companies.
* Water-related businesses to be spun off as a standalone water technology company
* Defense segment to be spun off as a standalone, diversified defense technology and information solutions company
* ITT Corporation to continue as a standalone, highly engineered industrial company
On Oct. 31, 2011, Exelis (ek-‘sel-ess) became a publicly traded company, led by David F. Melcher.

Today, the company trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol of “XLS.” Exelis is an energetic name that is derived from the word “excel,” which is rooted in “ex,” meaning “out in front” or “beyond.” The name Exelis signifies the expeditionary spirit, exceptional foresight and strong commitment to proactively anticipating and adapting solutions to our customers’ most critical problems.
Exelis is a leader in Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) related products and systems and information and technical services, supplying military, government and commercial customers in the United States and globally.

On August 2nd Exelis (NYSE: XLS) reported second-quarter 2013 financial results. Second-quarter revenue was $1.3 billion, compared to $1.4 billion in the second quarter of 2012. Operating income was $127 million and net income was $0.41 per diluted share, compared to $145 million and $0.46 per diluted share during the same period in 2012. Orders received in the second quarter of 2013 totaled $1.4 billion, a 14 percent improvement from the second quarter of 2012. Funded status of the company’s pension also improved by more than 10 percent primarily due to pension actions announced during the second quarter.

“Our Basingstoke, UK, facility forms the heart of the Exelis European business, we operate a repair and support facility for our radio, radar and night vision equipment as well as sales and marketing staff operating across Europe and other parts of the world,” Chris Reith said. “The Basingstoke engineering team also supports the legacy Bowman equipment and provides research and development capabilities for communications and deconfliction solutions.

One program Exelis is watching closely is the UK MoD’s BOWMAN replacement Requirement the Land Environment Tactical Communications and Information System (LETacCIS).

Currently the Project has three states:

1. BOWMAN Legacy Support. In July the U.K. MoD awarded a £45 million maintenance contract for the Armed Forces’ Bowman radio that will secure up to 300 British defence jobs. The contract awarded to General Dynamics UK to provide essential support for troops across the globe who use Bowman, will secure 150 jobs at the company’s site in Oakdale, South Wales. The other 150 jobs will be sustained across the supply chain. Wincanton in Bicester, Exelis in Basingstoke and DRS in Farnham are among the larger companies who will benefit as well as Small and Medium sized Enterprises including Cablescan in Brough and AWE Electronics in Staffordshire.

2. Logistics Support & Services (LSSP) Programme. LSSP is the Logistics Support contract for BOWMAN over a3 to 5 year period starting from 2014. LSSP will be competed a

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