Farnborough Air Show

Industry must boost IT to grow and cut costs

 - July 19, 2010, 8:07 AM

Information technology (IT) specialist CSC aims to increase its European aerospace and defense business by up to 10 percent year-on-year as it seeks to capitalize on the trend for companies to look for business in new areas.

U.S.-based CSC, which employs 94,000 and has annual sales of $16 billion, sees “major opportunities” in Europe, mainly helping companies achieve greater efficiency and find new market sectors. “IT has traditionally been seen as an overhead,” Gareth Evans, CSC European vice president for aerospace and defense, told AIN in Farnborough, “but it is time to move out of the basement and become a strategic enabler for growth.”

While European markets may not be at their most active in terms of sales, he said, “We can provide a lot of help getting costs out of the system.” Other growth areas include helping major international companies like BAE Systems strengthen their position in new regions of the world, such as India and Saudi Arabia. CSC is working with BAE Systems on product lifecycle management solutions for combat aircraft, including older types such as the Tornado, Hawk and Nimrod. “We develop the IT needed to gather data for predictive maintenance, spares support and so on,” said Evans.

For Airbus and EADS, CSC is working on new radio frequency identification technology, which will label components at the point of manufacture so they can be traced throughout the lifetime of the aircraft. Evans said “auto ident” technology is a major area of growth and, besides recording every detail of manufacture, will eventually include such details as the qualifications of the engineers who worked on the component.

Evans said a “very attractive” growth area is in the aero-engine industry. CSC recently announced a five-year, $1.5 billion extension to its existing IT contract with United Technologies, under which it provides IT infrastructure support in 22 countries.

He added that the company is talking to “several other manufacturers,” but he declined to be more specific.

CSC is one of four aerospace companies working for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on a demonstration of net-enabled operations technology, aimed at spotting rogue aircraft entering U.S. airspace and sharing air traffic control information amongst federal agencies.