Collins: Taking Defence to the Digital Arena
With an array of cutting-edge solutions like multispectral airborne imaging, SCi-Toolset and others, Collins Aerospace is engaged in the digital transformation of defence. Chris Rao, Managing Director, elaborates on these products as well as other programmes of the Company.
Could you reveal what would be the main goal Collins Aerospace hopes to achieve by participating in the upcoming DefExpo 2020 at Lucknow?
We will be demonstrating our advanced solutions to enable the digital transformation of defence, including multispectral airborne imaging to convert data to actionable intelligence; SCi-Toolset for responsive imagery exploitation; guidance, navigation and control solutions to deliver on target; and digital terrain awareness systems for enhanced safety and effectiveness in all conditions.
Tell us about the applications of Collins MS-110 Airborne Reconnaissance System.
Collins MS-110 is the next-generation of the DB-110 Airborne Reconnaissance System that will provide advanced daytime and night-time wide-area and long range reconnaissance capability. The MS-110 integrates seamlessly into the existing DB-110 reconnaissance architecture, utilizing common ground support equipment and exploitation stations. It is compatible with carriage on fast jets (F-16, F-15, F/A-18, Typhoon, Rafale), manned ISR aircraft, and MALE UAVs such as the MQ-9 Reaper.
The MS-110 offers three important product enhancements from the current generation DB-110. They are, multispectral Imaging capabilities – the ability to image in multiple spectral bands; improved optics for increased image resolution and area coverage capability; and common ground coverage among all bands.
TacSAR is a true end-to-end operational capability and shares common support equipment and infrastructure with the DB-110 system. The key elements of the TacSAR system are Mission Planning; ground support equipment; airborne reconnaissance pod; data-link; processing, exploitation and dissemination; and training and support for all elements including radar imagery analysis.
Another advanced solution created by Collins Aerospace is SCI-Toolset. Could you explain the advantages of this system?
Our SCi-Toolset software products provide customers with real-time understanding and visualisation of intelligence data fusion and analysis to build a complete intelligence picture. Aimed to allow timely decision making, the SCi-Toolset is sensor agnostic and is operational around the world. The toolset’s individual applications can be configured for a broad range of customers, from individual frontline troops, through HQs at tactical and operational levels, and enables the sharing of intelligence amongst coalitions. SCi stands for ‘Simplifying Complex Information,’ which is a critical task for all modern ISR users.
Other solutions to be highlighted by the firm at DefExpo relate to guidance, navigation and control. Could you elaborate on these products?
As a leading provider of control actuation plus micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS)-based and spinning-mass inertial sensors, Collins offers precision-guidance solutions to advanced missiles and munitions. Our targeting and guidance systems offer smart weapon solutions at low risk and an affordable cost. Advanced product offerings include highly accurate small and lightweight inertial measurement units (IMUs) as well as control actuation with fin, wing and thrust vectoring options. Collins supports stability augmentation on a wide range of vehicles and platforms and provides terrain referenced navigation and predictive ground collision avoidance systems on more than 5,000 aircraft worldwide. These innovative solutions meet the ever evolving needs of the warfighter with accuracy, reliability and affordability.
Collins Aerospace set up its first engineering facility in India at Hyderabad in 2008. Could you speak on the present scale of operations in the country?
Collins, in fact, had set up its first design centre in India in Bangalore in 2006. Today we have design centres in Bangalore and Hyderabad employing approximately 3,500 engineers supporting our various businesses across the globe.
Yet another product of the Company is the hoist for high-demand combat, search and rescue missions. Tell us about the market for this solution.
Collins Aerospace is one of the leaders in today’s helicopter hoist rescue community. We offer roughly 40 different models of Goodrich hydraulic and electric rescue hoists and cargo winches. We estimate that we have more than 7,000 airborne hoists placed throughout the global fleet on commercial and military platforms. Our hoists are certified on platforms from all major OEMs including Airbus, Sikorsky, Leonardo, Kamov, and Bell.
In India, we supply hoists for both the HAL Dhruv and Chetak platforms, and continue to explore options for sourcing electronics, engineered products and machined parts in-country. Collins Aerospace has been a longtime supplier to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), not just for hoists, but for other systems as well. In the future, we look to continue to strengthen our relationship with HAL and support their fleet of indigenous helicopters and jets.