To better position themselves to win future US government IT contracts, IBM and Boeing have announced a new alliance that aims to capture a share of the estimated $200bn (£112bn) market for ground and space-based systems.
Under a deal, the two companies said the alliance will allow them to better compete for government contracts for systems involving military communications, intelligence operations and homeland security.
"The conflicts of the future will be less dependent upon who has the most physical assets such as ships, planes and tanks, but determined by who has the best information and the most efficient means of sharing it among all elements of the fighting forces," said Jim Albaugh, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.
The two companies have identified four programme areas in the military intelligence field where they will work together on program development, Albaugh said, but he declined to specify what areas would be covered. "We think we can have some great synergies between the companies," he said.
Through a 10-year alliance, the companies will develop advanced digital communications and information technologies for existing and future defence and intelligence systems.
These technologies will be critical for network-centric operations where satellites, aircraft, ships, submarines, tanks, radios and handheld computers share information using the same interfaces, standards or protocols, according to the companies.
Boeing has a background as a major military and intelligence platform provider and experience as a lead systems integrator. IBM will provide information management middleware, microprocessor technology, electronics-design tools, software and chip verification technology and more.
The idea of the alliance, said John E Kelly, an IBM senior vice-president, is to help the US Department of Defense do what IBM has already helped hundreds of commercial businesses already do - "literally transform to efficient, modern, integrated IT infrastructure".
Joe Tedino, a Boeing spokesman, said the alliance will help the two companies bid on and win future government contracts because they will already be working together on development and research.
"We can help map out where these future endeavors are coming from and how we can win them," he said.
As part of the alliance, the companies will set up two competency centres for software and digital communications to show off their wares and provide in-depth information about their capabilities, Tedino said.
Todd R Weiss writes for Computerworld