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Soldier’s Network Delivery Update: 2,300 HMS Manpack Radios Now Delivered by General Dynamics to Keep Soldiers Safer and Better Informed — Press Release

Letters signed by more than 112 Soldier Network suppliers associated with the production of PRC-155 Manpack radio and 60 members of Congress expresses support for soldiers and the American workforce that builds them.

TAUNTON, Mass., Oct. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — General Dynamics C4 Systems and Rockwell Collins have delivered more than 2,300 secure, two-channel AN/PRC-155 Manpack radios to the U.S. Army under a Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract awarded in November 2012. The contract ordered 3,726 PRC-155 radios to be built by General Dynamics C4 Systems in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The PRC-155 radios have completed extensive government testing and are on schedule for distribution to soldiers as part of the Army’s Capability Set (Cap Set) 13, an integrated suite of networked communications equipment, and Cap Set 14, scheduled for the first quarter of 2014. The two-channel Manpack radio is the only NSA-certified, two-channel radio that can operate using multiple government-owned waveforms to simultaneously connect soldiers on foot, in vehicles, in aircraft and helicopters to the Soldier’s Network.

“These radios are deployed and successfully connecting soldiers with their commanders and higher headquarters using legacy and next-generation communications waveforms, which keep soldiers continuously connected to the Soldier’s Network and never alone,” said Chris Marzilli, president of General Dynamics C4 Systems. “By authorizing additional LRIP production now, the Army can continue to meet fielding requirements and ensure that every soldier is connected with this lifesaving radio, on schedule.”

“With the AN/PRC-155 Manpack networking radio, soldiers can be confident they will have access to lifesaving voice and data communications,” said Phil Jasper, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Rockwell Collins. “The hundreds of Iowa employees involved with this effort look forward to delivering the balance of these radios, making our soldiers more capable and more secure.”

The PRC-155 Manpack radio allows soldiers using the AN/PRC-154A Rifleman radio to connect to the Army’s backbone network, the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2. The PRC-155 Manpack also bridges networks – legacy to future, lower to upper echelons and unclassified to classified guard – allowing everyone, from the command center to the soldier on the edge of the battlefield, to stay connected to the Soldier’s Network.

General Dynamics C4 Systems and Rockwell Collins manufacture the AN/PRC-155 two-channel Manpack radios. The radios built under the current LRIP sustain hundreds of skilled technical jobs in Arizona and Iowa. More than 100 PRC-155 Manpack radios are built each week in support of the Soldier’s Network that engages more than 300 small business and 7,000 workers nationwide.

General Dynamics C4 Systems is a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD). More information about General Dynamics C4 Systems is available online at www.gdc4s.com. For more information about the General Dynamics family of HMS tactical networking radios, visit www.gdradios.com.

Rockwell Collins (NYSE: COL) is a pioneer in the development and deployment of innovative communication and aviation electronic solutions for both commercial and government applications. Our expertise in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, mission communications, information management, and simulation and training is delivered by 19,000 employees, and a global service and support network that crosses 27 countries. To find out more, please visit www.rockwellcollins.com.

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Tata Power SED, Rockwell Collins Team to Win the Indian Air Force Software Defined Radio Program

Rockwell Collins and Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division (Tata Power SED) are teaming to jointly pursue of the Indian Air Force Software Defined Radio program due for selection in the near future.

Tata Power SED, Rockwell Collins Team to Win the Indian Air Force Software Defined Radio Program

Rockwell Collins and Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division (Tata Power SED) are teaming to jointly pursue of the Indian Air Force Software Defined Radio program due for selection in the near future.

Some Evaluation of Smaller Defense Contractor Earnings – Seeking Alpha

Here is a post I wrote for Seeking Alpha discussing ATK and Rockwell Collins recent earning reports.

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JTRS Man Portable Radios To Complete LRIP

The Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) is the next generation of radios for the U.S. armed forces. It is being developed and produced in a variety of form factors and roles to support ships, vehicles, aircraft and man portable systems. The program has had its ups-and-downs but recently has made a decent amount of progress. The man portable Rifleman Radio recently had a Full Rate Production (FRP) decision and was approved to enter that phase of the acquisition cycle.

The current Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract belongs to a team of General Dynamics (GD); French company, Thales SA (HO), and Rockwell COllins (COL) to build the initial lot of over 6,000. This decision allows LRIP to be completed with the buyout of the remaining 13,000 odd systems to get to 10% of the planned production buy of 193,000 units.

The AN/PRC-154 Rifleman Radio provides voice and data simultaneous capability and is carried on the body of a soldier. It is used for intra-squad level communications and is compatible with current smartphone technology.

When the LRIP production is complete the Pentagon will have another contest for the FRP contract. This means that despite their good performance on the current contract there is no guarantee that the GD led team will win this. The final program could provide upwards of $1 billion in revenue for the winner of the larger production contract.

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Expectations for Defense Earnings This Quarter — Seeking Alpha

This is an exclusive post I wrote for Seeking Alpha looking at the upcoming earning reports from defense contractors.

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Does Reports of United Technologies Acquisition Herald Start of Major Defense M&A?

Update — On 22 September United Technologies released a press release stating their intent to acquire Goodrich for an estimated price of $18.4 billion. This would be the largest defense and aerospace related acquisition in many years. The transaction will still take several months as it goes through regulatory review. The CEO of United Technologies stated “Goodrich delivers on all of our acquisition criteria. It is strategic to our core, has great technology and people, and strengthens our position in growth markets.”

Late last week various reports began to arise the United Technologies Corp. (UTX), a large and diverse company that among its products makes military helicopters and jet engines, was interested in acquiring either Goodrich Corp. (GR) or Rockwell Collins (COL). Both of these companies make aerospace components for military and commercial uses.

The cost of the deal would be quite high compared to other recent defense M&A. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 billion for Goodrich requiring United Technologies to borrow a large amount of the necessary capital. Last year Goodrich’s earnings were around $7 billion while United Technologies’ sales were about $54 billion. Rockwell’s most recent quarter showed $1.19 billion in sales.

All three companies make major components for civil and military aviation so they synergy of the acquisition is there. They also all have significant business with the U.S. Department of Defense and other militaries across the world. The move would also fit in with how United Technologies is organized as it keeps strict lines of business under separate former corporations such as Sikorsky Aircraft, Pratt & Whitney and Hamilton Sundstrand. Moving another company into the group would not be difficult.

To this point there have been some large M&A moves this year by large defense contractors. Both General Dynamics (GD) and Lockheed Martin (LMT) have acquired health technology companies recently with the GD move coming in at close to $1 billion. Northrop Grumman (NOC) also spun off their shipbuilding arm into a new company called Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) rather then sell it but it still could be a target for acquisition.

This move by United Technologies though is much larger and seems to herald a return to the Nineties when medium and even large defense contractors were merged and acquired. This was due to the lack of demand from the U.S. compared to the decade previously and it is expected that U.S. defense spending will decline in the near future due to deficit issues and the reduction in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Senate Appropriations Committee in their mark-up of 2012 spending froze it at 2011 levels which is a cut when compared to what the Administration requested of about $26 billion.

The acquisition also works well for United Technologies as both companies mentioned have a significant part of the civil aviation industry as it does itself. This will allow expansion there that would offset any decline in defense sales.

If this acquisition goes through it might start a chain of similar moves as defense contractors begin to adjust to the new market and parts are jettisoned or added. ITT Corporation just broke off its former defense business into a new company called ITT Exelis. This might be a target for acquisition as it should be similar to the $7 billion in price for Goodrich.

If the United Technologies deal does happen it might be what the defense industry needs to push companies to make decisions about larger M&A that could lead to market contraction similar to the Nineties. Although the Defense Department has made clear that they do not want any of the larger defense contractors merging with each other.

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Army Awards GD Low Rate Initial Production Contract for JTRS

The U.S. military has been developing the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) as their new standard radio for almost twenty years now. The program has had its ups-and-downs as it struggled with the level of technology required to meet the requirements of the program. On top of that the number and variations of the radio are quite complex as it will be used in aircraft, ships, vehicles, by ground troops and also be integrated into Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). The JTRS once it enters full rate production will replace the ubiquitous SINGCARS radio system used since the 1980′s.

In late June the Handheld, Manpack, Small Form Fit (JTRS HMS) Program piece approved approval to go into Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) after having a successful Milestone C decision. This means that it has completed much of its engineering and development and is considered technically mature enough to begin production. The LRIP will demonstrate that it is possible to produce the system and allow the production to ramp up to meet full rate demands.

This has been followed by an order to General Dynamics (GD) and its partners Thales Communications and Rockwell Collins (ROC) for LRIP production of two versions: the Rifleman version and the Manpack radio. The AN/PRC-154 is meant to be carried by the individual soldier and 6,250 were ordered. The 100 Manpack are larger and will support operational testing and provide two channels.

The SINGCARS program was highly successful and earned its contractors a great deal of revenue due to the large demand. ITT Corporation (ITT) received what is most likely the last production contract for the system earlier this year. It had a value of about $600 million and includes parts and engineering support for existing radios. The JTRS contractors are hoping for the same thing with their programs.

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KC-X Contract Will Have Spillover Effects

The award to Boeing (BA) of the contract to build the new KC-46A tanker will of course affect many other companies. It is one of the largest defense contracts for the next decade. While the total value if all of the planned aircraft are built is closer to $35 billion the initial contract is for $3.5 billion and provides for the initial development and production of the first batch of aircraft.

Because of its size and scope there will be significant work for the subcontractors on the program. Boeing will do final assembly of the aircraft but it needs to procure things like engines, software and aircraft components from other contractors. These are spread out across the country and provide a web of support for Boeing and the program.

The first company that will receive major subcontracts is Pratt & Whitney, part of United Technologies (UTC). They will provide two engines for each aircraft which will be a boost in revenue and work for the next ten years or so. This revenue stream will allow them to maintain production at their facilities and perhaps invest in new engines for other programs.

Rockwell Collins (COL) will also do well. They will make for Boeing the flight deck, software and communications systems. Interestingly they were also supporting the EADS NA (EADS:P) KC-30 program so if either bidder had been chosen they would have won. The company has a history of supporting Boeing aircraft.

The KC-46A contract if it is not protested and delayed will begin to have secondary effects throughout the U.S. defense economy. The Air Force also plans follow on contracts to buy more then the 179 planned tankers under this effort. Those could go to Boeing or to another bidder and they too will have a significant effect on many other defense contractors and suppliers.

Photo from Jerry Gunner’s flickr photostream.

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Defense Earnings Continue Good News (ITT, KBR, COL, OSK)

As the latest reports of earning and profits have been coming in the last week defense contractors have reported decent growth in revenue and earnings. To date only Lockheed Martin (LMT) which saw a decline has been the only major company to report negatively. The latest reports from ITT Corporation (ITT), KBR (KBR), Rockwell Collins (COL) and Oshkosh (OSK) saw improvement.

At the same time most companies are being cautious in their future views due to concerns of future U.S. defense spending.

ITT Industries (ITT) who make radars, electronic and night vision systems as well as logistical and technical services for the Pentagon reported over one hundred percent improvement in income per share compared to last year with an increase of $0.46 cents a share. The company has increased their projection for the full year to $4.28 to $4.32 well over the analysts $4.08 to $4.18. Total revenue though was less then predicted at $2.64 billion. ITT also has a significant commercial side with a focus on pumps and water purification to aid them in balancing their defense products which did see a decline this quarter.

KBR Inc. (KBR) a leading provider of logistic and engineering services to the U.S. Defense Department as well as to the oil and construction industry reported an increase in earnings of $24 million. Revenue was reduced mainly due to the loss of the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) III contract. The U.S. Army manages the LOGCAP contracts for support in Iraq of military and civil services. KBR had worked on previous LOGCAP contracts but due to concerns expressed by the U.S. government with some of the charges and billings they were unable to bid on the latest iteration. Overall KBR expects to slightly exceed analysts expectations for the year.

Rockwell Collins (COL) who primarily provide avionics and electronic systems in support of defense programs also had a good quarter. The company also provides support to commercial aviation and saw significant business providing spare parts and retrofitting those type of aircraft. The company feels that it will meet predictions for annual earnings. There were some concerns expressed that the delay in awarding the U.S. Air Force’s KC-X new aerial tanker contract expected now to slip from this month to early next year may effect them as they are part of Boeing’s (BA) team.

Oshkosh Corp (OSK) who primarily had made construction and heavy equipment but recently had moved into the defense realm with two major contract wins in the last two years saw a drop in revenues and profit in the most recent quarter. The company had had bad years in 2008 and 2009 due to the decline in the U.S. economy affecting their sales. Recently the production of the MRAP-AT vehicle for use in Afghanistan and the FMTV truck for the Army and Marines had offset this decline in recent months. The company is saying that improved performance of the commercial side of their business will aid the company in the future. Both the MRAP and truck contracts have definitive ends as the military buys out vehicles to rebuild their inventories.

Defense contractors who also have a commercial component of their business seem to be doing the best as the latest results are announced. Boeing, Oshkosh, ITT and Rockwell all were able to strike a balance with these business lines. They may be able to offset future cuts to the U.S. defense spending but if the U.S. economy does not recover soon it may be a rough few years for these companies.

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Rockwell Collins Plans for KC-X Delay

Rockwell Collins (COL) had a good fourth quarter when they announced their most recent earnings. Overall revenue was up almost eight percent and profit twelve. Like most defense contractors though the company is planning for rougher times ahead as the U.S. defense budget declines.

Rockwell is part of Boeing’s (BA) team bidding for the KC-X new aerial tanker and the CEO, Clay Jones, said as part of the earnings release that they expect the contract award to be delayed.

Expectations were that it would be announced early next month but there have been consistent rumors and stories that this will be pushed off at least a few months as the Air Force evaluates EADS’ (EADS:P) and Boeing’s submissions.

The Air Force has been trying to buy a new tanker to replace the aging KC-135 aircraft now for most of this century. The current competition represents the third attempt and the second using competitive bids.

Rockwell Collins Wins Contract to Upgrade Air Force Test Ranges

All of the U.S. services operate test and training ranges. Some of these are joint and allow the interaction of various types of weapon systems as well as troops. The ranges also provide the ability to collect data to support weapon system development as early, complex and frequent testing is a key part of the acquisition process. One important component of the ranges are systems that collect data on the position of the participants as well as data about what is occurring with the weapons.

The U.S. Air Force awarded this week a contract to Rockwell Collins (COL) to begin development and deployment of a new system to support their test ranges. The contract to produce the Common Range Integrated Instrumentation System (CRIIS) is a follow on to two contracts let in 2008 to do risk reduction for this system. Based on those results Rockwell Collins was selected for the next stage in CRIIS.

The new contract is worth about $140 million.

Rockwell Collins will be joined by other companies such as Cubic Defense Applications, Honeywell and ArgonST to carry out the work required to deliver the CRIIS.

As weapon systems and the command and control networks that support them get more complicated more sophisticated and realistic testing must be done. The CRIIS will provide data to support the deployment of new and advanced systems for the U.S. military.

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Rockwell Collins To Build New Training System For E-2D

The Navy is introducing an upgraded version of their E-2 radar plane. The E-2D is made by Northrop Grumman and is the latest version of the aircraft that has been in service since the 1970′s. It offers improved radar and command and control capabilities over the E-2C currently being used.

As part of this new system going into use the Navy contracted with Rockwell Collins to build the integrated maintenance training system. This four year contract is worth over $60 million. Rockwell will design and build maintenance simulators as well as course material and a computer delivery system. The contract also includes support for these systems once they are delivered.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/40132991@N07/ / CC BY 2.0
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