JED - September 2011 - (Page 12)

message f ro m the p re s i d e nt Association of Old Crows 1000 North Payne Street, Suite 200 Alexandria, VA 22314-1652 Phone: (703) 549-1600 Fax: (703) 549-2589 PRESIDENT Walter Wolf VICE PRESIDENT Laurie Buckhout SECRETARY Jesse “Judge” Bourque TREASURER David Hime AT LARGE DIRECTORS Michael “Mick” Riley William “Buck” Clemons Steven Umbaugh Cliff Moody Linda Palmer Paul Westcott Robert Elder David Hime Tony Lisuzzo REGIONAL DIRECTORS Southern: Wes Heidenreich Central: Judith Westerheide Northeastern: Nino Amoroso Mountain-Western: Jesse “Judge” Bourque Mid-Atlantic: Bill Tanner Pacific: Joe “JJ” Johnson International I: Robert Andrews International II: Gerry Whitford APPOINTED DIRECTORS Robert Giesler Jim Lovelace Donato D’Angelantonio Thomas Metz IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT Chris Glaze AOC STAFF Don Richetti Executive Director Norman Balchunas Director, Operations Mike Dolim Director of Education Carole H. Vann Director of Administration Shelley Frost Director of Convention and Meeting Services Kent Barker Conferences Director/FSO Glorianne O’Neilin Director of Membership Operations Stew Taylor Marketing and Exhibits Manager Tanya Miller Member and Chapter Support Manager Jennifer Bahler Registrar Keith Jordan IT Manager Tasha Miller Membership Assistant INTERNATIONAL EW INNOVATION M   12 The Journal of Electronic Defense | September 2011 onths ago I wrote of the pyramid inversion, where mid-tier players in the EW industry were uniquely positioned to capture significant EW market share. The primary drivers were the confluence of lower operating overhead and ease to design and produce high-performance EW systems with more and more commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) subsystems. Clearly, these two factors set the stage for the inversion. However, the inversion is poised to rapidly accelerate internationally because the global financial pressures on military budgets will favor platform upgrades rather than expensive new acquisitions. Nations will make tough priority decisions that will favor mid-tier suppliers over prime platform providers as they retrofit. Simply put, tomorrow’s budgets will be more efficiently spent to add capability to today’s platforms rather than acquire new ones. That makes all the sense in the world, but how does that favor inversion in the EW industry, especially the international ones? Since introduced on the battlefield, EW systems have been known as force multipliers. EW modernization for many aircraft and ships has kept them relevant well past the time when they would have been retired. The B-52 is a prime example how electronics and EW systems have kept the Buffalo a formidable fighting platform for more than 50 years. In EW, the overwhelming influence of COTS electronic design and production is evidenced by the preponderance of EW subsystems made by mid-tier suppliers, an arena pretty much abandoned by the top-tier. Another manifestation favoring inversion acceleration is that many top-tier players have drastically reduced investments in order to increase cash reserves in an uncertain budget future, which has increased pressure to contain overhead costs. While there are major EW programs that are being custom designed for new platforms underway around the globe, there are also many legacy platforms that will be retained longer than planned and will be unable to leverage these new EW programs without significant cost to upgrade the platform. This is a global problem and, at the same time, a global opportunity for many international mid-tier EW suppliers. Today’s small and digitally intensive EW subsystems are like building blocks with open architecture interfaces that require significantly less systems engineering to assemble into full-fledged EW systems. Clearly, many factors are lining up in favor of the rapid expansion of mid-tier suppliers around the globe, but the most interesting factor is that mid-tier suppliers have been historically more adept at working with peers to collaborate or, as I have written in the past, to “coopetate.” This characteristic alone may be the single one that top-tiers avoid. Rather than leading to consolidations among mid-tiers, cooperative innovation may very well be the catalyst of the pending accelerated inversion of the pyramid, as well as the dominant driver toward rapid growth in international EW innovation. – Walter Wolf

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - September 2011

The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
Detecting and Defeating IEDs
Developing Critical EW Technologies: Digital Devices Move Into the Analog Space
New Products
EW 101
AOC News
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - September 2011