Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971

2021-11-03

A Future Focused on Connectivity, Sustainability

Collins Aerospace, a leader in technologically advanced and intelligent solutions for the global aerospace and defence industry, operates in 300 locations and 30 countries worldwide. In April 2020, following the merger of United Technologies and Raytheon, Collins Aerospace became one of four businesses of the newly formed Raytheon Technologies. Through diverse commercial aviation, military and space portfolios, as well as its aftermarket business, Collins has had a well-established presence in the Middle East for more than 20 years.
 
Nation Shield recently connected with Colin Mahoney, who leads Customer & Account Management for Collins Aerospace, to discuss what the company will highlight at the 2021 Dubai Airshow, its strategic relationships in the region, and its commitment to sustainability as the industry works towards post-pandemic economic recovery.
 
Excerpts from the interview:
 
What are you most looking forward to about this year’s Dubai Airshow?
Being able to attend the show in person so we can reconnect with some of our key partners in the region. While we have all found new ways to conduct business during the pandemic, face-to-face interaction is always ideal. We can show customers how our solutions and systems work, then gauge interest and field questions in real time. It is often in the spontaneous conversations where you gain the most insight about one another.
 
Is there a particular theme you will focus on?
We are coming to Dubai with key offerings from our business lines, most of which involve enhanced connectivity capabilities, or what we call the Connected Aviation Ecosystem for the commercial markets and the Connected Battlespace for the defence sector. Both feature digital systems that are flexible enough to work across platforms, and integrated product lines that turn complex operations into turnkey solutions. Given the different markets, this translates to a more streamlined travel experience for passengers and flight operators – or a more efficient, data-rich environment for military missions.
 
Moreover, we will focus on what Collins is doing with – and for – customers to create a more sustainable aviation industry. That has always been a priority, but now – for all of us – sustainability is a critical business imperative. We cannot bring innovative solutions to life without considering their environmental impact.


 
What products will you highlight for your commercial aviation customers?
Connectivity on the commercial and business aviation side of our business means offering customers a range of end-to-end, digital solutions – for use both on and off the aircraft. Again, our objective is to enable more predictable, efficient flight operations and a smoother, enhanced passenger travel experience.
For example, we will talk to customers about our airport solutions, including our touch-free kiosks and biometric-enabled passenger processing systems – like the ones in place at Dubai International Airport – that make for a more efficient travel experience.
 
Some solutions for the airports and on the aircraft have been in development for a while now. However, during the pandemic, we formed a Redefining Air Travel task force so we could not only work more collaboratively across the industry and within the science, technology and public health communities to help restore stakeholder confidence in travel again – and to work on strategies that could help lift international border restrictions – but also to accelerate implementation of these technologies amid the public health crisis.
 
We will highlight solutions that focus on aircraft systems, as well, including our Enhanced Vision Sensor (EVS) solution to help improve pilot visibility. This system uses multiple infrared and visible light cameras to “see through” poor visibility conditions better than the human eye – allowing pilots to better see the runway environment in all weather conditions.
 
What will you highlight for your defence customers?
Connectivity is vitally important here, as well, and we are focused on providing open-system, scalable solutions to enable all-domain command and control of the battlespace in an increasingly complex threat environment. The more connected our service members are, the better decisions they can make – whether threats originate from the air, ground, sea, or space.
 
What is Collins’ commitment to the Middle East?
Our name may have changed over the years, but if you factor in the involvement of our heritage companies, we have had a strong presence in the region for more than 20 years – for both the commercial and military sectors. We have also supported airport systems and offered critical infrastructure protection in the region. In addition, we have built enduring relationships with gulf airlines and operators as part of the aftermarket services we provide at our facility in Dubai.
Our commitment to strengthening ties in Dubai – and with other partners in the Middle East remains steadfast.
 
What is your involvement with the Aviation X-Lab?
In partnership with regional leaders, Emirates Airlines and other key aviation companies, Collins Aerospace co-created the Aviation X-Lab in 2019 as a way for the industry to collaborate on solutions to improve the air travel experience and, over time, the mission is to positively impact the lives of one billion people. As an idea incubator, the X-Lab issues challenges around a theme – the first of which was creating more sustainable solutions for aviation. A new challenge will be issued at the 2021 Dubai Airshow, which we look forward to supporting.
 
How does sustainability align with your business growth strategy?
We are working across our industry to decarbonise aviation and within our own company to reduce our environmental footprint. In October, we joined other aviation stakeholders in support of the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG)’s commitment to eliminate carbon emissions entirely (to Fly Net Zero) by 2050. It is an ambitious goal, but one we must pursue and collaborate on if we are to ensure the future health of our industry and our planet.
 
Collins is doing its part on many fronts, from enabling more electric and hybrid-electric flight and exploring alternative power sources, such as hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuels, to in-house initiatives that reduce water consumption and the amount of material we send to the landfill.
 
Again, we see sustainability – as well as redefining the travel ecosystem and connecting the battlespace – as integral parts of our business strategy. Innovation and sustainability go hand in hand.
 

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