The Middle East presents opportunities for growth in the aerospace sector

by  — 14 June 2015

Andy Winns, chief executive, Lockheed Martin Middle East, talks to The Edge about the company’s regional business presence, prospects, and what Qatar means to it in terms of its business spread and portfolio.

Lockheed Martin has been a trusted partner in the Middle East and Qatar for decades and understands how to work with governments, local industry and academia to help achieve national goals.  The company is committed to developing long-term business ventures, strategic initiatives and mutually beneficial local partnerships.

There are many opportunities for growth in the Middle East region, in the security, aerospace and commercial sectors, due to the close alignment between our product portfolio and the challenges faced by our customers and partners.  

We established Lockheed Martin International in 2013 to ensure we are applying the correct leadership, more resources and more focus to our international growth strategy, which includes the Middle East region. Lockheed Martin International has the responsibility for strengthening international customer relationships and industrial partnerships, as well as growing the company’s global business. 

Lockheed Martin International integrates our existing international business and operations and aligns our international employees under a customer-focused strategy, covering all of the countries where we do business today. The recent opening of our new, enhanced office in Doha is an example of that strategy in action.


How different are these from your global business areas?

Rising global security tensions are prompting governments to think about their first priority – protecting their citizens and their national security – and the capabilities they need to fulfill it.

In the Middle East, where empowering the next generation of scientific researchers, engineers, inventors, corporate leaders and entrepreneurs is a key national priority for many nations, the Lockheed Martin International team is focused on growing existing local partnerships with governments, businesses and leading universities to share knowledge, grow expertise and drive economic development.

Partnerships are a great force multiplier. They bring the best insights and innovations into alliance, promote local jobs, and drive global economic growth to help meet national defence, industrial and social needs.


Of the things you do – aerospace and defence, IT, space, and emerging technology – which is biggest in terms of size and relevance to the Middle East?

We are a broad-based business with a superior portfolio of products and capabilities that help address our customers and our partners’ most difficult challenges, whether these are in the security, aerospace or commercial sectors. From tactical aircraft and integrated air and missile defence to cyber security, radars, naval ships, training and airport management systems, Lockheed Martin brings proven performance to its customers and partners across the Middle East region.


Tell us about your Qatar plans. What can we expect to hear from you with respect to your Qatar operations?
We recently opened our new Doha headquarters and this facility will enhance our team’s ability to develop business ventures and strategic initiatives, and develop long-term local partnerships, which help meet Qatar’s national defence, industrial and social needs.

I am personally looking forward to working closely with local companies and academia to deepen our relationships, and in doing so, support Qatar’s National Vision 2030, which aims to transform the state into an advanced country, capable of sustaining its own development and providing a high standard of living for all citizens, for decades to come.

We look forward to harnessing the energy and commitment of Qatari citizens, under the wise leadership of HH the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, to help achieve the State of Qatar’s National Vision 2030 and a strong national defence capability.


With your industries, innovation is a key factor. What can you share about the innovation focus in Lockheed Martin?

I am proud to work for a global technology leader which is focused on pushing the boundaries of scientific discovery to deliver products and capabilities our customers require, at a price they can afford. We are a company whose mission is to solve complex challenges, advance scientific discovery and deliver innovative solutions to help our customers keep their citizens safe and provide them with essential services.

Here in Qatar, we are committed to advancing local industry and academia through joint ventures, university partnerships and community projects. We want to play our part in sharing knowledge, growing expertise and driving economic development to help the State of Qatar achieve its national vision. 


Can you share some key points that your president, chairman and chief executive spoke about in her address to the international media in Washington during February?

During her Media Day speech, our president, chairman and chief executive, Marillyn Hewson touched on many of the complex security challenges facing the world today. 

She commented that, in today’s world, change is constant – political, economic, technological, social, and cultural. Hewson stated that what is even clearer the landscape is being reshaped by a series of megatrends – overarching forces that will affect how the world works in the decades ahead.

Four of these megatrends are especially relevant to our work: the evolving global power dynamic and its impact on the global security environment; the rise of digital technology and the risk associated with the increasingly connected world; the increasing global population and the demands it puts on resources and the planet; and the worldwide economic uncertainty and how it influences the decisions and priorities of our customers.

Each of these megatrends is powerful alone. Collectively, they are transformative – creating the most complex global security environment we have ever seen. At Lockheed Martin, we are working with our international partners, including those here in the Middle East, to develop and deliver revolutionary systems to meet these challenges.  


What is your take on the way corporations such as yours should look at energy efficiency? And how relevant is this concern in a region such as the Middle East with its hydrocarbon-driven economies?

Energy is one of the fastest-growing markets for our IT and cyber security capabilities. We are already helping many utility companies protect the power grid while at the same time improving energy efficiency and implementing smart grid projects.

Having built strong cyber defences for decades – for both traditional defence systems and for government IT systems – we are now offering the same capability that we use to protect our own network defences to commercial companies, such as those in energy - a highly targeted industry - so they can benefit from the same level of protection.

In addition, with more than seven billion people on the planet and counting, we need to find new, clean ways of generating power to meet the growing demand for energy-dependent food and water production. Beyond traditional energy sources such as oil, gas, coal, nuclear and hydroelectric dams, new technologies are revolutionising our thinking.

We are at the leading-edge of clean energy technology, advancing the science behind Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, wave and tidal energy, the next generation lithium ion batteries, green IT systems and smart grid solutions.

These developments are only possible because international partners, including those in the Middle East region, bring unique global perspectives which help us look at developing solutions to these challenges in new and innovative ways.


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