First helicopter simulator jointly developed with Zen Technologies unveiled at Aero India

Pictured are (from left): A. Kishore Dutt, president of Zen Technologies; Ashok Atluri, managing director and CEO of Zen; Bob Wuestner, senior director of Simulation and Training Solutions (STS) Air Combat and Surface at Rockwell Collins; JP Kamath, vice president of Flight Simulation at Zen; Colin Mahoney, senior vice president of International and Service Solutions (I&SS) at Rockwell Collins; Jim Walker, vice president and managing director of I&SS in the Asia-Pacific region at Rockwell Collins; Ram Prasad, managing director, India at Rockwell Collins; and Nick Gibbs, senior director of STS Products for Rockwell Collins. (Click for larger version)

Jayeeta Lakhani beamed with pride when Rockwell Collins and Zen Technologies announced their joint entry into the military flight simulation market segment in India by unveiling a next generation rotary wing simulator at Aero India in Bangalore.

A principal marketing manager at Rockwell Collins in New Delhi, India, Lakhani has spent countless hours during the past two months overseeing this relatively new strategic partnership. On Feb. 18, members of the Indian media and show attendees were given an opportunity to learn more about this new, co-developed helicopter simulator.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Lakhani, noting this is the first time Rockwell Collins is developing a system like this outside of the United States. “Rockwell Collins is very strong in full flight simulation and Zen Technologies is very strong in dismounted soldier, first-person shooter and ground vehicle simulation. We’re a perfect complement to each other and we have worked seamlessly during the past four months to make this simulator a reality.”

A Memorandum of Understanding announced in October 2014 combines both companies strengths in simulation and training, and opens up avenues to further extend Rockwell Collins’ reach in the Indian defense market.

According to Nick Gibbs, senior director of Simulation and Training Solutions (STS) products for Rockwell Collins in Salt Lake City, Utah, this strategic alliance coincides with the “Make in India” campaign, which is aimed at enhancing the country’s prominence in global manufacturing while creating jobs by increasing the flow of new technology and capital.

“We had struggled for many different reasons over the years to sell into this particular market segment,” said Gibbs, who came to Rockwell Collins with the 2006 acquisition of Evans and Sutherland. “One of those reasons was the need for in-country content, which is why our relationship with Zen is so important. We know we can’t win without them and they know they can’t win without us.”

The next generation Rotary Wing Simulator is housed in an ergonomically-designed cockpit. It is configurable and fully addresses both the flight and mission aspects of rotary wing aircraft. The simulator also supports anytime, anywhere training and is a cost-effective and efficient alternative to pilot training in handling routine flights, emergencies and practice missions.

“Considering the complexity of this system, our engineers have played a huge role in helping to ensure its success,” said Lakhani. “People like Steve Thomas, Fred Gruendell, Larry Kermon and Lennon Dhanaraj are the ones who have been on the ground in Hyderabad working with Zen and making sure the nuts and bolts of the system are functioning properly.”

Thomas and Gruendell are principal systems engineers at our facility in Salt Lake City; Kermon is a principal program manager in Sterling, Virginia; and, Dhanaraj is an associate engineering manager in Hyderabad.

“It’s not easy to have a partner like Zen Technologies come onboard and do all of the work they’ve done in such a short span of time,” continued Lakhani. “But Zen has used our technology 100 percent effectively and successfully built this simulator to our specifications.”

LeAnn Ridgeway, vice president and general manager for Simulation and Training Solutions, also is excited about our relationship with Zen and is looking forward to many more collaborative efforts in the months and years to come.

“Nobody has ever produced in-country flight simulators in India before and we just did so in a very short amount of time,” said Ridgeway. “We’ve got the gas pedal down and we’re moving very quickly to demonstrate there’s great commitment to this partnership. The military aircraft market in India is looking very attractive and we’re now positioned to tap into that market and accelerate our international growth.”

The entire press release is available via the “News & Events” link on

Story posted: February 23, 2015

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