US-based defence electronics specialist DRS Technologies plans to dramatically increase the proportion of revenues it earns from airborne applications of its intelligence technology products.

Al Dietrich, president of the intelligence technologies division within the company’s C4I (command and control, communications, computers and intelligence) group, says intelligence technologies could see as much as 50% of its sales coming from airborne products in the next three to five years, up from around 15%.

The strong growth is partly due to DRS’s specialisation in miniaturisation, which he says lends itself well to weight-constrained aerospace applications, and in particular unmanned air vehicles.

Acquisitive DRS, which is projecting revenues of $1.5 billion for fiscal year 2006, has also completed the flight-test programme for the helicopter altitude hover and hold system under development for the US Air Force Special Operations Command. DRS says it is talking to the UK Ministry of Defence about equipping Westland cargo and rescue helicopters with the retrofittable system, which would allow aircraft to land from 3,000ft (900m) in poor visibility and weather conditions to within an accuracy of 9m. The technology could bring in between $25 million and $50 million revenue per platform, assuming between 30 and 50 systems being ordered per fleet, says Dietrich.

DRS also has plans to expand its business outside the USA. “We have more US sales than international sales, but not by choice,” says surveillance and reconnaissance group president Fred Marion. “We have around 13% international sales, but we’re trying to grow that to 20% over the next few years.”

Expansion could be in the form of partnerships or acquisitions, Marion says. “Between strategic relationships and acquisitions we have an active ongoing programme that includes Europe and other locations.”


Source: Flight International