IBM and Honeywell sign defence pact

IBM and Honeywell have agreed a 10-year deal on electronics for aircraft, munitions, and space and surface vehicles.

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. 

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

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