President & Managing Director
<< It is not just helicopters, UAS or weapons that Textron Systems is offering to India. The company is combining its surveillance and intelligence-monitoring and analysis capabilities for end-to-end intelligence. Inderjit Sial, President and Managing Director, Textron India, tells us more… >>
How important is India as a market for Textron Systems?
India, with its vast land and sea boundaries, diverse geography and vast population, needs an effective security environment for sustained economic growth. Government of India has undertaken the task of rapid modernisation of its defence as well as paramilitary forces. Textron Systems is committed to supporting the Indian military, paramilitary and central armed police forces with its best defence, internal security and aerospace solutions.
Can you brief us about the activities and profile of Textron Systems in India?
Textron India headquarted at Bangalore, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc. It works closely on engineering and other business solutions with other Textron Systems businesses, as well as Textron’s Cessna and Bell Helicopter units. Textron India currently has a vast talent pool of more than 450 highly qualified engineers. In addition, Textron India has business development and sourcing teams located in Bangalore which support the various Textron business units in the country.
RemoteView 3D Pro extension showing a 3D terrain model of a threat dome associated with a known lethal explosive device
While a number of Textron Systems operating units are engaged in business in India, I would like to focus on the company’s Overwatch Geospatial Solutions (Overwatch) operating unit. Overwatch is an industry provider of highly sophisticated geospatial software applications and services. We have partnered with RSI Softech India, a Hyderabad company, to jointly sell and integrate a portfolio of geospatial solutions in India. RSI Softech is a leading integrator and supplier of geospatial intelligence solutions in India. For more than 15 years, the company has built a reputation of serving the Indian market with reliable, affordable solutions in the areas of security and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
You are in talks with Central Armed Police Forces and Ministry of Home Affairs for several internal security requirements. What are the products that Textron Systems has for the growing internal security market in India?
Textron Systems’ vast array of products includes Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), unmanned surface vessels and sophisticated unmanned command-andcontrol systems, all of which are gaining broad interest globally. By combining the surveillance and multi-source data collection capabilities of these products (for information, video and imagery) with intelligence-monitoring, analysis and dissemination capabilities of Overwatch solutions, we ensure that our customers benefit from end-toend intelligence capabilities which equip them with broad security capabilities.
In addition, our family of Unattended Ground Sensors (UGS) are a scalable, effective solution for both tactical and non-military applications covering a variety of terrains and targets. This includes the MicroObserver UGS system, which is our next-generation solution that provides situational awareness for perimeter defence, force protection and border security.
As part of our sales activities, Textron Systems and RSI Softech are in dialogue with various Indian government agencies.
What are your offerings in the area of unmanned systems?
Textron’s AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems operating unit has more than 35 years of experience designing, producing, testing, fielding and supporting unmanned systems throughout the world.
Our foremost UAS is the highly regarded Shadow Tactical UAS. Shadow systems have amassed more than 800,000 flight hours supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Shadow system is in use by the US Army and Marine Corps, and is also the tactical UAS of choice for the Australian, Swedish and Italian armed forces. It is an outstanding tactical UAS with great operational capabilities.
AAI’s Aerosonde Small Unmanned Aircraft System is ideally suited for both land-based and shipboard operations in spaceconstrained environments. In fact, the Aerosonde can be deployed in its shipboard configuration with no ship alterations, and is an affordable and space-saving solution for our customers. The Aerosonde aircraft’s single electro-optic/ infrared payload delivers day-and-night, persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, while its large payload size, weight and power can accommodate another payload of choice for multi-mission flexibility. It utilises AAI’s one-piece Launch and Recovery Trailer and the Expeditionary Ground Control Station for expeditionary land- and sea-based operations.
Geospatial intelligence is one of the prime requirements of security forces around the world. You have a dedicated division in this regard — Overwatch. Can you tell us about the offerings of the division?
Overwatch delivers multi-source intelligence (multi-INT), geospatial analysis and custom intelligence solutions which support military commands, intelligence agencies, national agencies and commercial services. Our solutions enable analysts to integrate and leverage multiple intelligence sources to improve situational understanding and deliver actionable intelligence in support of counter-terrorism, irregular warfare and civil applications such as ecosystem management and environmental planning.
Overwatch is at the forefront of technology innovation, providing advancements in the multi-source and geospatial intelligence fields. Among the many capabilities, our software solutions can provide the following:
- On-demand image processing
- Multi-terabyte image support
- Advanced 3D analysis and visualisation
- Customised, web-enabled workflow management
- Full motion video exploitation
- Collection and collaboration integration software
- Human terrain socio-cultural information software
- Multi-source intelligence fusion and predictive analysis
With so many companies claiming to offer tools for data fusion and analysis, how are your solutions different from others available in the market?
Overwatch works with customers and partners to understand all the factors that affect their intelligence and mission needs. We leverage our extensive base of multi-INT and geospatial domain expertise to design solutions that break down barriers and deliver comprehensive, mission-focussed situational understanding.
Medina Wireless Surveillance software showing geographically mapped call data and relationships among acquired data
We are also developing innovative new technologies that will provide continuing advancements in the intelligence field. Innovations such as cloud computing platform integration and delivery will extend our capabilities to include more rapid service configuration, adaptability, interoperability and collaboration.
We are no longer talking about collection of data but rather big data. How to derive actionable intelligence in realtime from the huge amount of data generated every day is a challenge facing security agencies around the world. How are you addressing this problem?
As the need for more timely and accurate information analysis expand, systems today must incorporate capabilities that enable an analyst to effectively ingest, correlate and integrate smart or self-aware multi-source data including imagery, video, sensor data and embedded metadata into their analysis and reasoning processes. These capabilities, in addition to understanding the user workflows, operational tempos and diversity of requirements, are incorporated into Overwatch’s solutions to drive how software and data are assembled to solve problems.
These solutions support a wide variety of geospatial analysis workflows. The ability to optimise analyst workflows enables analysts to be far more effective in accessing, displaying and analysing geospatial data in very tight timelines. For exhample, Overwatch’s GeoCatalog product enables geospatial analysis organisations to access and analyse large volumes of geospatial data stored locally, or to retrieve and access data that is archived and physically stored across a geographically dispersed enterprise. All of this helps optimise collected spatial data to support intelligence production needs and obviate the need for additional, and often redundant collection.
How do you overcome the challenge of interoperability/ common standards?
Overwatch is a member of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), an international voluntary consensus standards organisation. Within the OCG, more than 400 commercial, governmental, non-profit and research organisations worldwide collaborate in a consensus process to encourage development and implementation of open standards for geospatial content and services. Our product development methodologies support prescribed standards outlined by the NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG), which defines processes, procedures, terms and conditions for common military or technical procedures or equipment between the member countries of the alliance.
Additionally, Overwatch geospatial solutions meet the MIL-STD-2500C standards which establish the requirements for the National Imagery Transmission Format Version 2.1 (NITF 2.1). Our geospatial solutions are certified by the US Joint Interoperability Test Command for NITF standard compliance. As underlying principles for development, these activities support the delivery of solutions that incorporate open, interoperable data models as opposed to proprietary data.
Apart from RSI Softech with which you have recently announced your partnership, which other Indian companies have you joined hands with?
As mentioned previously, RSI Softech, with its roster of software and hardware solutions and exposure to Indian armed forces and central police organisations, is a valuable partner for Textron Systems and Overwatch. We do not have a relationship with any other entity in the Indian market at this time.
Any particular major contracts that you are looking forward to and would like to talk about? What can we expect from Textron Systems in the coming years?
Currently, there is an urgent need in India for a number of Textron products and solutions. There are many projects in India for which Textron products meet and even exceed the requirements.
RSI Softech and Textron Systems are working closely to localise the products and offerings for programmes which may support India’s National Intelligence Grid (NAT Grid), the Central Monitoring System of India (CMS), the Centre for Communication Security Research and Monitoring (CCSRM), Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and other defence and government agencies.