EADS must look to the lessons of Airbus's Power8 restructuring process as it targets increased efficiencies and better productivity from its military businesses, says Stefan Zoller, chief executive of the company's Defence & Security sector.

"Airbus must deliver more, so it's obvious that the rest of the company has been asked to deliver more and show better productivity," Zoller said in London ahead of the 11-14 September DSEi exhibition. Predicting 2007 earnings for the EADS DS business unit higher than last year's total of almost €350 million ($ million), he said: "The operational performance is getting better. I inherited a business that I could improve further, but that delivers."

Stefan Zoller 

"EADS was a bunch of different companies very much focused on their national customers, but there has been a lot of integration over the last seven years, and it pays back now," said Zoller. "As we go forward you won't see such duplication."

Zoller believes EADS DS should expand its activities beyond its home territories in a bid to improve its international coverage. "Our order backlog is around 70% in Europe. We have to globalise and go for new technologies and new business models." The company is prepared to pursue fresh mergers and acquisitions, he added, listing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, unmanned air vehicles and homeland security technologies as areas of key interest.

Discussing several of EADS's leading military projects, Zoller confirmed that "the UK is asking for different numbers of aircraft" under its Tranche 3 production commitment to the Eurofighter Typhoon. "We must deliver a proposal and quotations before year-end based on different assumptions," he said. "But we assume the framework contract will be honoured by all nations."

The company also expects to see major changes to NATO's Alliance Ground Surveillance programme within the next month, with interest in acquiring a mixed fleet of manned and unmanned aircraft appearing to have shifted towards a fully unmanned capability.

If confirmed, the decision to acquire up to eight Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude long-endurance UAVs carrying Northrop/Raytheon MP-RTIP sensors would remove an earlier requirement for modified Airbus A321s carrying Transatlantic Cooperative AGS Radars. "There is a high probability that we might see a UAV-only solution," said Zoller. The decision would also come as bad news for Europe's SOSTAR-X radar demonstration effort, which had hoped to feed technologies into the AGS system.

Source: Flight International