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​AVALON: Collins eyes regional comms, training opportunities

Collins Aerospace sees opportunities to help the region’s militaries upgrade their communications and training capabilities.

The company was formed in late 2018 with the merger of United Technologies Aerospace Systems (UTAS) and Rockwell Collins. It is one of two divisions within United Technologies, with the other being engine maker Pratt & Whitney.

Des Baxter, director of business development mission systems for the company in Asia-Pacific, says customers have been positive about the merger.

“We've been asked a lot of questions about Collins and the broader portfolios and capabilities that we can bring to bear now,” he says.

“At the recent Aero India show we had some really good dialogues with very senior people. There is genuine interest in what Collins is about, and probably more questions than answers right now, because we're still navigating our way through it and coming to terms with the other capabilities that we can take to the market.”

The company used the Avalon air show event to promote several technologies, including its Joint Secure Air Combat Training System (JSAS). The system uses a live, virtual constructive training system to provide realistic training scenarios for pilots in real time. For example, the system could generate virtual “enemy” aircraft for fourth and fifth generation over a testing range.

One benefit of JSAS, says Baxter, is security. It allows aircraft with classified capabilities to train alongside other assets, but without sharing data that may be classified.

“It's a gateway so [highly classified] aircraft can talk each other without everyone else seeing what's going on - but they can hear everyone else. Air forces can share the range, and top secret communications stays within top secret, and doesn't filter out to unclassified aircraft. Now, they can train together.”

The company is also promoting wideband HF (high frequency) radios to customers regionally. Such radios can carry large volumes of data, including video, and are a useful supplement to satellite communications. This would be especially important in a conflict, says Baxter.

“When satellites disappear, which is probably going to happen on day one [of a conflict], then the ability to transfer large volumes of data, up to and including live video, is something we can do.”

The company also promoted its Coalescence mixed reality system at the show. Through virtual reality goggles, Coalescence combines a virtual environment with physical props such as control columns, throttles, and cockpit displays. This creates a realistic training experience without the need for more comprehensive simulators and flight training devices.

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