Avionics manufacturer Rockwell Collins has agreed to acquire US simulator specialist NLX for $125 million in cash. The acquisition will allow its service and support business "to expand into areas beyond where we have traditionally participated", says president and chief executive Clay Jones.

Sterling, Virginia-based NLX, which is expected to have sales of $125 million in 2004, is being acquired from Arlington Capital Partners and management. The company manufactures and upgrades simulators for military and civil aircraft. NLX has produced simulators for the Bombardier Challenger 300, Cessna Caravan and Citation Jet, Dassault Falcon 200 and 900, and Raytheon Beechjet 400 and King Air 350 - several of which have Rockwell Collins avionics.

On the military side, NLX has produced weapon system trainers for the Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye 2000 and E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, and upgraded simulators for the Boeing B-52, Lockheed Martin P-3C, Rockwell B-1B and Sikorsky MH-60K. The company is part of the CSC-led team that recently won the $1.1 billion Flight School XXI programme to provide aviation training for the US Army.

NLX has yet to break into the airliner market. A contract to build an Avro RJX simulator was cancelled when BAE Systems axed the regional jet.

Among others, NLX competes against Canada's CAE, Link Simulation & Training, which is owned by diversified L-3 Communications, and Thales Training & Simulation, which is part of the French electronics and avionics giant.

Source: Flight International