ITT consolidates defense biz, seeks larger NextGen role

Singapore Air Show » 2010
February 2, 2010, 12:42 AM

As part of a strategy to shed its image as a maker of clever but lonely boxes, ITT’s defense segment last month announced a realignment aimed at propelling it to the top ranks of wider systems integrators. The company says its redesign “will enable better integration of its product portfolio, encouraging a more coordinated market approach and reduced operational redundancies.”

Most visible initially will be the renaming of the segment as ITT Defense and Information Solutions, which consolidates seven separate divisions into three.
The Electronic Systems and Communications Systems divisions, as well as a portion of the Intelligence & Information Warfare division, are being merged to form a “more versatile” Electronic Systems division, based in Clifton, New Jersey, and tasked with delivering “advanced protection measures that work together to help ITT’s customers defend their networks and disable enemy networks.” It will shift its focus from producing “separate, point-of-use products to secure, networked communications systems and powerful sensing, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies that address the entire spectrum of electronic warfare.”

The Space Systems and Night Vision divisions are merging to form Geospatial Systems, based in Rochester, New York, to provide networked sensors such as next-generation imaging, including space and air sensors, image/infrared/digital sensors and air/space/ground systems. Elements of what is now the Geospatial division built the 42 GPS satellite payloads that were launched beginning in 1976 and currently provide the world with global satnav. They were designed for a 20-year service life and are still going strong 34 years later.

The former Advanced Electronics & Sciences and Systems divisions will be combined with part of the Intelligence & Information Warfare division to form the new Information Systems division, based in Herndon, Virginia. Developing next-generation air traffic management solutions (NextGen ATC) for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is one of this division’s specialties, and ITT is working hard to have other regions of the world adopt the same system for their own ATM needs.

At $6.3 billion, ITT’s defense business accounts for a more than half of the corporation’s annual revenues, ITT Defense and Information Solutions president Dave Melcher told AIN. Of that $6.3 billion, Electronic Systems contributes some $2.7 billion; Information Systems accounts for $2.6 billion; and Geospatial the remainder.

“We underwent the reorganization because all of these capabilities used to be in seven value centers,” noted Melcher, who has been president for about 14 months. “We were producing jammers [either in development or in production] in three divisions; communications in more than a couple; and systems engineering in three. By combining everything into three divisions, we’ve really cleaned up a lot of internal issues and made sure people are fully synchronized with each other in getting products to our customers.”

ITT Defense and Information Systems intends to expand on its ATM work in years to come, “both organically through other competitions within the FAA but also in the international arena. There’s a huge potential market in Brazil, India and China for the kind of ATM capabilities we have here at ITT, and the FAA promotes these capabilities externally because it would like to see more parts of the world compatible with what we’re doing here,” Melcher said.

“Singapore is already a big customer of ITT for ground- and air-based night-vision systems, and it was at Singapore’s suggestion that we lightened our PVS-4 monocle [one-tube] personal visioning system by going to one battery from two and retaining the same useful life for the power supply,” said Bruce Scott, vice president of ITT Defense and Information Solutions International. “Singapore also uses our variable-depth sonar for its high-speed patrol boats, precision approach radar for military airfields, defense radar and communication equipment.

“The highlight of our message at Singapore this year is our capability in modernizing ATC,” noted Scott, who will be hosting a panel session on NextGen ATC here today featuring former FAA Administrator Marion Blakey; Dee Reimold, FAA assistant administrator for international aviation; and John Kefaliotis, vice president of ITT’s FAA program.

“They’re much more in the forefront than in the back end,” Melcher told AIN. Most of the systems currently in Asia are radar based, and we may never see the rollout of a complete ADS-B system in Asia as we will in the U.S., which is blanketing the lower 48, up to Alaska and down to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. In Asia you might see more point solutions based around large hubs, but I think eventually you’re going to see everybody go to this technology because it is much more precise and it offers significant fuel savings for the airlines. It has a millisecond refresh rate as opposed to radar’s 12-second sweep, and separation goes from two miles to one mile on a precisely controlled descent.”   

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