What’s billed as the biggest aerospace deal in history is bringing one of the industry’s largest players, United Technologies Corp., into Salt Lake City.
United Technologies’ $23 billion purchase of Rockwell Collins Inc. includes a facility with 150 employees in University of Utah Research Park. The Salt Lake City division of Rockwell Collins produces visual simulation programs to enhance training for commercial and military pilots.
It launched in the 1970s as the simulation division of Evans & Sutherland, an early leading computer graphics company founded in 1968 by U. computer science professors David Evans and Ivan Sutherland.
Evans & Sutherland sold the simulation division in May 2006 to Iowa-based Rockwell Collins, known for building complex electronic systems in the cabins of commercial and military aircraft and the simulators to train aviators to use the equipment.
“This acquisition adds tremendous capabilities to our aerospace businesses,” United Technologies’ Chairman and CEO Greg Hayes said Monday in a statement about the purchase, which totals $30 billion including debt.
“Together,” he added, “Rockwell Collins and UTC Aerospace Systems will enhance customer value in a rapidly evolving aerospace industry by making aircraft more intelligent and more connected.”
The Salt Lake City facility manufactures the software, display systems and image generators for training simulators, Rockwell Collins spokeswoman Pamela Tvrdy-Cleary said in an email.
The systems are used for training with commercial airlines, fixed-wing and fast jet aircraft, tactical helicopters, military driving, tanks and ground warfare, she said.
“These highly realistic simulator visual images include the ability to train in smoke, storm and night and day effects,” she added.
When the transaction is completed, the new integrated division will be called Collins Aerospace Systems. Kelly Ortberg, president and CEO at Rockwell Collins, will be its chief executive. Besides the flight-deck avionics coming out of Salt Lake City, Rockwell Collins also will supply airplane seats, landing systems and other aircraft parts.
The merger came under attack from aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus.
According to Bloomberg News, Boeing warned that it would take action to protect itself if the merger hurt its business at a time when the U.S. planemaker has been seeking discounts from suppliers, such as both United Technologies and Rockwell Collins.
“Until we receive more details, we are skeptical that it would be in the best interest of — or add value to — our customers and industry,” a Boeing email to Bloomberg said. If the deal appears to hurt Boeing’s business, it added, the company will “pursue the appropriate regulatory options to protect our interests.”
Based in Farmington, Conn., United Technologies is a conglomerate that also makes Pratt & Whitney Engines, Otis elevators and Carrier air conditioners.
United Technologies’ stock fell 6.71 cents, or 5.7 percent Tuesday, to $111.21. Rockwell Collins shares rose 96 cents to $131.57.