10 Sep 05. For those of your readers who may have noticed that Rockwell Collins UK, a major contributor to Bowman, lacked a mention in our Managing Risk, Bowman feature, it was because we were saving the news until the announcement of the company’s 50 Anniversary celebrations on September 8th, when BATTLESPACE Editor, Julian Nettlefold, was invited down to the Press Party at the company’s Reading facility.
In 1933 radio pioneer Arthur Collins founded the Collins Radio Company to manufacture short wave radio equipment; the company was incorporated in 1933. When the company experienced financial difficulties in 1973 the company was acquired by Rockwell International in 1973. In 2001 the company was divested by Rockwell and listed in its own right on Wall Street as Rockwell Collins under the symbol ‘COL’. Boeing purchased the aerospace business which had made, amongst other products the B-1 bomber and the Space Shuttles.
During this time the radio segment has established itself as a leading-edge technology company, specialising in Communications, Navigation, Surveillance and Display technology. It pioneered communications for the U.S. space program and developed GPS Navigation technology to become the world leader. One of the main drivers of this growth and technology base has been the world-wide drive form analogue to digital technologies in the civil aerospace and defence sectors in particular. It has thus established strong brand equity and a large international installed customer base. In terms of sales and sales breakdown the company achieved 2005 sales of $3.45bn (the year ends in September) with Civil taking 47% of sales and Government/Defense 53%. The company has ISO-9001-2000, ESA/FAR-145 approvals.
On January 7th 1955 Collins established its first International location in a garage at Northolt in 1955 to repair, in the main, the Collins radio systems sold into the Air Canada fleet of Viscount aircraft. Quickly outgrowing its garage facility, the company moved to Reading in 1979.
Expanding its service and repair facility to developing information management and flight entertainment systems for airlines, the company also moved into doing business with the UK MoD. The biggest break for the company came when the UK MoD placed the requirement for the Bowman radio system to replace the existing Clansman system. Part of this requirement was for Bowman to have GPS functionality and Rockwell won the requirement to supply 35000 units under a contract with General Dynamics worth in excess of $100m; the company delivetred its 3000th MPE-S in March 2005.The site is the largest integration facility in Europe and has established a repair capability for most Rockwell Collins products.. Outside the UK, the company has established a strong participation for many EU Framework Programmes. In establishing this presence the company has established strong links with international industrial partners and research organisations.
Steve fahy, Communications Systems Manager told BATTLESPACE that the main aim of the company since 2000 has been to offer complete systems solutions, particularly in the networking area. A particular strength of Rockwell Collins UK strengths has been the ability to leverage technology from its participation in the huge U.S. FCS and Land Warrior Programs. This expertise is flowing into contracts with the UK for the Bowman, NEC and FIST programmes. The company achieved sales of $113m ($70m Govt./Military) in FY04.
Sensor Systems Manager Phil Froom said, “The win on Bowman has led to interest for our products throughout Europe and the Rest of the World. Our first export success has been for the Dutch Marine NIMCIS system, a Bowman-Lite system.”
Rockwell Collins UK is at the forefront of the development of exportable GPS systems from its UK base. The MPE-S (known as GB-GRAM in the US) was designed to allow defence contractors the ability to integrate US military GPS into communications, weapons and othe