Honeywell bullish on defense acquisition
Some three weeks after closing negotiations to buy defense logistics contractor Dimensions International, Honeywell Defense and Space president Ed Wheeler prepared to travel to Paris “feeling good” about the company’s position, notwithstanding the tumultuous political environment in the U.S. “We don’t expect to see great upsets in budgets and whatnot, certainly not as long as troops are in harm’s way,” Wheeler said. “Longer term, the political process will work its way through and we’ll see where it goes. But yes, we’re doing well; we’re happy about our circumstance and think things are pretty stable for a while.”
Whether or not the stability Wheeler described holds for long, the Dimensions acquisition will ensure its participation in the Department of Defense’s “reset” efforts, or, in civilian terms, the repair and replacement of equipment worn out from extensive U.S. military activity around the globe.
“We see DoD migrating more and more repair, overhaul and maintenance to third-party contractors,” said Wheeler. “And we’ve been competing and winning some of that business and Dimensions just continues to fill in that capability for us, so you’ll probably see us doing more in that space.”
Already involved in material planning, supply chain warehousing, distribution and vehicle maintenance, Honeywell’s Technology Solutions division recently won a contract to overhaul Army trucks in Kuwait. Separately, the company also secured a position to compete for a contract to supply perimeter security for U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine bases around the world under the DoD’s Theater Provided Equipment Refurbishment (TPER) program.
Here in Paris, Honeywell Defense and Space is promoting the imminent deployment of a small vertical takeoff and landing UAV it developed for the Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) program. Called a micro air vehicle, the unit works off a gasoline-powered reciprocating engine that powers a ducted fan. Light and miniature enough to carry in a backpack, the UAV can fly as high as 10,000 feet, but shows its value in its ability to hover close to the ground, where it can sense thermal differences produced by improvised explosive devices (IADs).
Ultimately, the UAV will use diesel fuel for U.S. Army applications, but here in Paris, Honeywell hopes to land business from the European companies that have expressed interest in marketing it to their respective MoDs.
More Honeywell promotion here in Paris will focus on its recent contract to supply its synthetic vision system for helicopters under DARPA’s Sandblaster program, its late May delivery of the 1,000th T-55 engine for the CH-47 Chinook and the microelectro machine sensor (MEMS), a new GPS-INS guidance package small enough to withstand firing out of an artillery cannon.