BAE Systems Cancels Sale of Avionics Business, Cuts UK Jobs

 - January 21, 2011, 6:38 AM
BAE has begun delivering its ‘look and shoot’ helmet for pilots of the Eurofighter Typhoon.

BAE Systems abandoned plans to sell most of its remaining avionics capabilities. The company put its Platform Solutions business up for sale last fall, but rumored interest from Goodrich, Honeywell and Rockwell Collins evidently failed to produce an acceptable offer. The main sites of this $200 million turnover transatlantic business are Rochester, UK;  Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Johnson City, N.Y. Products include cockpit and helmet-mounted displays, engine controls and flight control computers (FCCs). The FCCs have been sold for both commercial and military applications, including a recent award to equip the Embraer Legacy 450/500 (as a subcontractor to Parker Aerospace). The division’s advanced “look and shoot” helmet for Eurofighter Typhoon pilots is now being delivered, after what the company concedes was “a challenging transition from development to production.” The helmet-mounted symbology system allows a fighter pilot to quickly designate and fire at multiple airborne targets, even those obscured from view to his rear or below.

BAE last month announced 1,300 potential job losses in the UK resulting from the Strategic Defence and Security Review, which abandoned procurement of the Nimrod MRA.4 and axed the Royal Air Force’s Harrier fleet. This is in addition to more than 900 job losses at UK locations that the company announced last September. But BAE has continued to add workforce through acquisitions in the information technology field. Since 2008, it has spent more than $1.5 billion to acquire five companies in Australia, Denmark, Ireland, the UK and the U.S. that specialize in cyber security.