The trend for defense forces to buy commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment can only benefit a company like Honeywell Aerospace, according to Tim Van Luven, vice president for defense aftermarket sales in the Asia-Pacific region. Although defense is only a small portion of the company’s turnover, Honeywell’s status as a leading provider to the commercial aviation world positions it well within a region where defense spending is growing fast.
In the communications field, Van Luven is pushing Honeywell’s JetWave broadband satcom system because, as he says, militaries now need ever-increasing bandwidth to relay data in a connected world. Honeywell recently fitted the system to the C-130J Hercules fleet of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and although most defense customers certify their new equipment buys under military regulation, the fact that Honeywell has gained civil Supplementary Type Certifications (STCs) for such add-on is a plus-point.
Aspire Satcom STC
Meanwhile, the company’s Aspire 200 satcom system for helicopters is gaining traction. Combined with a High Data-Rate (HDR) software package, it reduces the impact of rotating rotor blades on satellite signals and brings reliable broadband communications to the rotary-wing environment. Honeywell recently gained an STC for Aspire on the Sikorsky UH-60 series, adding to previous certifications on Bell 429, AW 139 and AS350 airframes.
In the navigation field, Honeywell (Chalet CS32) has recently gained new business in Korea for its Embedded GPS/INS (EGI). Korea Aircraft Industries (KAI) has chosen the lightweight system for the indigenous KF-X stealth fighter, and for the Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) that it is co-developing with Airbus. Honeywell’s EGI is already fitted on KAI’s T-50 jet trainers, such as the ones flying here in the Black Eagles team.
Van Luven revealed that Honeywell has gained a significant place on another indigenous Asian military aircraft development—Taiwan’s XT-5 Advanced Jet Trainer. The company will supply the APU, ECS (environmental control system), EGI and air starter.
Honeywell’s F124/F125 jet engine family also has a significant Taiwanese connection, having been originally developed to power the Indigenous Defense Fighter (IDF). The F124 will also power the XT-5, the design of which is derived from the IDF. But the most significant application of this engine is probably the Leonardo M346 trainer, with its many developments and sales prospects.
Van Luven sees good upgrade prospects for other engines made by Honeywell, including the LTS101 and T55 turboshafts that power many military helicopters.
As for avionics, Honeywell is the prime contractor for a cockpit upgrade to the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s C-130H Hercules fleet. Many other companies are chasing such upgrades, and Honeywell will often supply individual back boxes to potential competing primes. As Van Luven notes, “we have long-standing relationships with many OEMs in the region. Sometimes they are partners, and sometimes they are competitors. Aerospace is an incestuous business!”