Cedar Rapids-based Rockwell Collins, a major employer and supplier to the military as well as airlines worldwide, is launching a new project to improve the precision of military weapons. Company spokeswoman Nancy Welsh says the avionics maker will team with Honeywell on this project. Their joint venture is called “Integrated Guidance Systems,” bringing Rockwell Collins’ global positioning system, or GPS, technology together with Honeywell’s “inertial-sensor” technology. Welsh says it was a natural alliance using Rockwell’s expertise in G-P-S. She says Rockwell’s GPS ability to track via satellite exactly where something is will combine with Honeywell’s “inertials” that let you know the direction the object will be going and details like whether the object is pointed up or down. Linking the two created a system that’s even more precise. In this case, the device to be tracked and guided will be a weapon — and Welsh says there’s a reason to try and make those more accurate. She says when a missile or other weapon’s launched, having the new technology allows it to be launched from farther away and the missile will get to its target “more precisely.” In a war or other combat situation, Welsh says that means fewer innocent bystanders are likely to be targets. “We talk about that as being less colateral damage, so that you’re only hitting the targets that you really want to hit,” she says. Rockwell Collins has worked with Honeywell before, but this is their first 50/50 partnership in a venture. Rockwell Collins today announced revenues and profits were up substantially for the final quarter of the company’s fiscal year 2005.
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