As Raytheon Technologies Corporation, an American multinational aerospace defence conglomerate, and one of the largest aerospace, intelligence services providers, and defense manufacturers in the world, has long- standing relationship and cooperation with the UAE that have extended for over 30 years, Al Jundi Journal met with Mr. Alan Davis, Chief Executive for Raytheon Emirates Ltd. (REL) based in Abu Dhabi and discussed with him capabilities of their company, their cooperation with the UAE, their contribution to deal with regional and international threats, and some other related issues.
Can we have an overview about the nature and aims of the merger between Raytheon and United Technologies?
The merger of Raytheon Company and United Technologies in April 2020 created the world’s most advanced aerospace and defense systems provider called Raytheon Technologies. The new company, Raytheon Technologies, serves customers worldwide, including in the UAE and Middle East, through a platform-agnostic, diversified portfolio of industry-leading businesses. Raytheon Technologies is made up of four businesses – Raytheon Missiles and Defense (RM&D), Raytheon Intelligence and Space (RI&S), Collins Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney. Raytheon Technologies is 50 percent commercial and 50 percent defense as well as 50 percent international and 50 percent U.S. domestic.
What kind of capabilities does your new conglomerate plan to develop?
Raytheon Technologies expects to introduce breakthrough technologies at an accelerated pace across high-value areas such as hypersonics, directed energy, avionics and cybersecurity for commercial aerospace and defense.
What will be the impact of this conglomerate on the defence market internationally and regionally (the Gulf region)?
The combined company can now bring technologies and capabilities together to support programs and customers like never before. One technology area that will benefit significantly from the merger is communications, both in the military and commercial markets.
On the military side, we are bringing Raytheon’s expertise in secure military networks, command and control and cybersecurity together with Collins Aerospace’s expertise in tactical communication devices embedded within weapons systems. This combination will allow us to better develop communications systems that are more integrated and more interoperable, which defense customers have identified as one of their real challenges today. Our solutions, next generation software-defined radios, advanced sensors and navigation solutions, empower the intelligent or connected battlespace of today and tomorrow.
Additionally, there are similar synergies on the commercial side. Nearly anything that flies commercially uses Collins’ radio communications, and Raytheon has the capabilities to integrate those communications into other systems, like air traffic control networks. By bringing these together, we can optimize airspace management.
How will this conglomerate affect your cooperation and relationships with the UAE, its emerging military industry, and enhancing capabilities of its armed forces?
Raytheon Technologies is bringing product and technologies here to the UAE to support our customers’ needs and economic growth.
With this merger, we can leverage the capabilities, scalability and power of Raytheon Technologies and its subsidiaries, including all the capabilities that Collins Aerospace (also with a local presence in the UAE) and Pratt & Whitney bring — twice the portfolio to build the business, develop the local knowledge base, develop leaders and grow the UAE economy.
Which defence fields or areas are you targeting to develop after synergizing your technologies? Any future surprises? Are we going to see new capabilities or systems?
The combined company can now bring technologies and capabilities together to support programs and customers like never before, including advanced data analytics and AI, cyber solutions, communications, multi-domain battlespace, and air dominance.
What is your response and solutions to the hypersonic threats, to the cyber-attacks, and to drone swarming attacks, such as the ones the Gulf region is confronting?
Our Gulf customers are looking for help to meet their evolving mission requirements. Solving the tough problems is what we do and have been doing in this region for more than 50 years.
High-energy laser weapon systems have best-in-class sensors and deep magazines, enabling detection of threats, tracking during maneuvers, and positive visual identification to defeat asymmetric threats with precision and efficiency. And Raytheon Technologies’ layered approach to CUAS includes a mix of advanced radars, directed energy and kinetic effectors to ensure that the warfighter can utilize the optimal sensor & effector, in a wide range of operational scenarios.
The solutions for countering drone attacks still very costly, do you have any plans to develop more affordable solutions?
When compared to other weapon systems, the operational costs of our high-energy laser weapon system, from logistical support to training, are very low. The cost-per-shot is minimal – less than the price of a cup of coffee per engagement. Furthermore, our laser weapons feature deep magazines that can be recharged with a standard generator. As for the cost of the systems themselves, technology requirements and technical baselines have been evolving at a rapid rate. As this rapid prototyping evolution settles and we move toward higher quantity production, costs of the systems will drastically decrease.
What does the UAE mean to Raytheon Technologies?
We have been working with the UAE for over 30 years. Our commitment to working with UAE industry reflects our shared values and a mutual desire to grow business in support of the UAE’s economic, defense and aerospace ambitions.
What are the challenges and how do you meet them, esp. Corona?
Raytheon Technologies has nearly 100 years of combined expertise, including more than 50 years of success in the Middle East. Our ability to keep pace and align our R&D with relevant upcoming threats and subsequent market effects has played a major role in this success. While no one could have predicted this pandemic, we were able to react fast by accelerating use of our existing technology and finding new derivatives we could adapt to our business.
How do you assess your cooperation with the UAE?
Raytheon Emirates has strong industry relations with industry partners such as Tawazun, Mubadala, and EDGE. We see opportunities to partner with EDGE in all their business segments, particularly in the areas of effectors, electronic warfare systems and cyber security. Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney work closely with industry partners to help build a regional defense and aerospace industry.
In which domains is your cooperation with UAE best reflected?
One of the areas in which Raytheon Technologies is cooperating with the UAE is in investing in talent. The company employs approximately 450 people in the United Arab Emirates, including Emiratis, primarily as part of Raytheon Emirates and Collins Aerospace. Raytheon Technologies is also committed to supporting and enriching communities in the UAE by providing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educational opportunities and investing in the local workforce.
Furthermore, Raytheon Technologies is actively engaged with the UAE manufacturing and supplier eco-system to partner locally, contribute to supplier jobs and help strengthen industrial capabilities and diversify the nation’s economy.
The Gulf region market is witnessing a fierce competition, what makes your products attractive to potential customers?
With our added scale post-merger, Raytheon Technologies is in a position to immediately address the priorities of our commercial and defense customers faster and more efficiently than ever before. We have 60,000 engineers and scientists across key R&D areas – providing us with one of the best technology portfolios in the world. The combined company can now bring technologies and capabilities together in support of programs and customers in the UAE like never before.
How can our armed forces benefit from your solutions and what capabilities can they add to them?
We are working with customers and local partners in the UAE and GCC on customized solutions that meet their specific mission needs. We are now able to offer twice the portfolio of capabilities as the combined Raytheon Technologies company with complementary capabilities from across Raytheon Emirates, Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney.
Would you like to send any message through Al Jundi Journal to the defence community in the UAE and the GCC?
Raytheon Technologies is committed to our presence and investment in the UAE and GCC. We continue to reinforce this with our focus on STEM activities in country to train the next generation of technology workers, our local partnerships and our overall contribution to the UAE’s economic growth.
Interviewed by: Mohamed Fahed AL Halabieh