IBM and Honeywell have agreed a 10-year deal on electronics for aircraft, munitions, and space and surface vehicles.
The agreement between IBM's Engineering & Technology Services unit and Honeywell's defence electronics business is worth up to $250m (£134m), according to a Honeywell spokeswoman. It gives Honeywell access to IBM's engineering expertise, technologies, R&D, and manufacturing processes and facilities, and is designed to speed up Honeywell's production of network-centric battlefield components and systems.
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In return, the pact provides IBM with military and aerospace resources and expertise, as well as access to avionics and vehicle electronics customers.
"IBM's expertise in high-bandwidth communication and protocols, as well as its high-performance information processing and network management tools for use on vehicles, will provide our military customers with advanced systems quickly and more cost-effectively," said Honeywell vice-president Ed Wheeler.
While Honeywell gets engineering expertise - along with IBM's Power architecture, and technology and integration - IBM gets a partnership with a well-known face in the aerospace and defence arena that can help it boost its position in that market
"Our goal is to get a bigger piece of that business through our work with Honeywell," said IBM spokesman Cary Ziter.
IDC analyst Bob Parker said the deal was a reaction to aerospace and defence bodies shifting development risks to the contractors.
"This is an engineering service," said Parker, "not your non-core competency back-office kind of story. We're seeing an IT services company getting into very much a business-centric type of activity."
IBM sold off its aerospace and defence business in 1993. "Though they're not doing direct contracting, this gets them back into that business a little bit," said Parker. "Honeywell gets a larger measure of control over the electronic design of a system that it would normally have to give up to one of the electronic contractors like Rockwell Collins."
Linda Rosencrance writes for Computerworld