Saturday, September 26, 2009

Big Ideas, Big Dreams; ST Engineering Has Enjoyed Decade of Growth

Defense News



Big Ideas, Big Dreams; ST Engineering Has Enjoyed Decade of Growth

By WENDELL MINNICK SINGAPORE — ST Engineer­ing has undergone phenom­enal growth since it was launched in December 1997 with the merger of four pub­licly listed companies — ST Aerospace, ST Electronics, ST Automotive and ST Ma­rine — into what was then called Singapore Technolo­gies (ST) Group.

The acquisition of another group of companies based in this Southeast Asian city­state in 2000 led to the for­mation of a larger group with the current title. Con­sisting of aerospace, elec­tronics, land systems and marine sectors, ST Engi­neering has a global foot­print of 20 countries and 35 cities.

VT Systems, ST Engineer­ing’s U.S. headquarters in Alexandria, Va., has expand­ed the group’s access to new technologies and provided substantive growth, said Patrick Choy, ST Engineer­ing’s executive vice president for international marketing.

And to exploit emerging opportunities in the defense field, the group is pooling top personnel and resources from its four sectors.

Choy said that “about 30 percent of our business is defense and 70 percent is commercial. Both are grow­ing at a healthy rate.” Dean Lockwood, an ana­lyst with Forecast Interna­tional, Newtown, Conn., said that over the last 10 years, “in terms of individual programs, their small arms programs have done well, and their vehicle programs have done moderately well.” As for ST Engineering’s prospects over the next five years, “in terms of small arms, they have some real opportunities in the interna­tional market,” Lockwood said. “They have innovative designs in ... machine guns, infantry weapons and grenade launchers.

“Regionally, it is wide open for them in East Asia.


ST Engineering’s defense activities range from building warships for Singapore’s Navy, maintaining Army weapons and modernizing Air Force C-130s.

Performance by Sector

With $1.6 billion in revenue in 2006, the Aerospace sec­tor’s main capabilities in­clude maintenance, modifi­cation, components and total engine support for civil and military aircraft.

The Electronics sector, which reported $951 million in revenue in 2006, offers combat systems integration, information security, mobile and homeland security sys­tems, satellite communica­tions and electro-optics gear. In 2006, the Electronics sector launched a battlefield management system, com­missioned by the Singapore Armed Forces for the island nation’s third-generation net­worked fighting force, on the Bionix II armored vehicle.

With $1 billion in revenue in 2006, the Land Systems sector’s main capabilities in­clude multirole military plat­forms, weapon systems and advanced munitions, surveil­lance, remote operations and vehicle fleet management systems.

Land Systems offers de­fense products that enable network-centricity and in­creased connectivity, and it is one of the few manufac­turers that provides both 40mm weapons and a wide range of ammunition.

With $702 million in 2006 revenue, the Marine sector offers ship upgrading and conversion, custom-built naval and commercial ves­sels using in-house computer­aided design facilities, stealth technology, and overhaul and maintenance of high-per­formance marine engines.

In 2006, the Marine sector delivered to the Republic of Singapore Navy a pair of locally built, 114-meter-long frigates, the RSS Intrepid and RSS Steadfast, as part of a technology transfer deal with French shipbuilder DCN to build six 3,200-ton frigates for the Navy. DCN built the first frigate, the Formidable, in France, with the remain­ing five built by ST Marine.

The Formidable was com­missioned last May. The In­trepid, Steadfast and RSS Tenacious were commis­sioned Feb. 5. The Stalwart and the Supreme, ST Ma­rine’s final two frigates, will be commissioned next year.

For ST Engineering, 2007 brought a bumper crop. In February, ST Aerospace En­gines won a $5.4 million con­tract from the Brazilian Air Force for the overhaul of 12 Rolls-Royce T56-A-15 en­gines for the service’s C-130 transport planes. Also in February, ST announced that its Land Systems arm won a $13 million contract to main­tain weapons for Singapore’s Army.

The company announced last March that ST Marine won a $400 million contract to provide a ship and sub­marine rescue system to the city-state’s Navy. Also in March, the company signed a $20 million contract with Singapore’s Ministry of De­fence to maintain electro­optical equipment for the military.

The same month, ST Aero­space signed two contracts with Singapore’s Air Force totaling $393 million — the first for the modernization of the C-130 transport fleet, and the other for support of the service’s 16 A-4SU/TA-4SU Skyhawk aircraft.

Search for Approaches

ST Engineering also has launched a Defense Business Group that includes repre­sentatives from all four sec­tors, to exploit emerging trends in the defense field.

The Defense Business Group “looks at implementa­tion of the [company’s] key programs,” Choy said. “So when there are programs that involve more than one sector, this group will come into play and help integrate and ensure the programs are properly implemented and executed.” The group will provide a “special management focus for defense business and look at new technology and services which we can cre­ate ... for our customers,” he said. “We need to think three steps ahead of our customers, so when they come to us and say they have a requirement, we don’t just look at fulfilling just what they want. We also provide options.” Choy pointed to a new concept developed by the group, dubbed Defensphere. It combines urban opera­tions, force networking, perimeter security and force modernization. He described the Defensphere battle man­agement system as a “holis­tic concept to meet the needs of today’s modern armed forces, spanning land, air and sea.

“Defensphere represents the integration of all ele­ments of a tactical light unit with mobility, lethality, sur­vivability as key features and supported by modern technologies — automation, robotics and network-cen­tric capabilities,” Choy added.

“Defensphere deliv­ers the autonomy, integrity, effectiveness and persist­ence demanded of the fu­ture force.”