Podcast

Special – Farnborough Airshow

To shed light on today’s topic, two Terma-veterans of the annual airshow will be joining the podcast to explain why Farnborough International Airshow is such a big deal, and what to expect from the event.

Written by: Terma
Podcast Aeronautics

After three years, the Farnborough International Airshow finally returns. Terma is part of the long-awaited trade exhibition, showcasing the newest innovations within the aerospace and defense industries, Terma is proud to present their Multi Mission Pod and several other groundbreaking inventions.

To shed light on today’s topic, two Terma-veterans of the annual airshow will be joining the podcast to explain why Farnborough International Airshow is such a big deal, and what to expect from the event.

Listen to this episode if you want a peak into the one of the largest events within aviation and defense.

Today’s Guests:

  • David Martin, Senior Vice President & General Manager at the Aeronautics division at Terma.
  • Steen Lynenskjold, Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer at Terma.

Your Host: Mikkel Svold
Produced for Terma by Montanus

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Episode Transcript

Mikkel Svold:
Hello, I'm Mikkel Svold, and welcome to this special episode of Allies in Innovation. In this episode, we are warming up to the Farnborough International Airshow, and we're talking about why it's really worth attending and why and what we are looking forward to. So today I'm joined by two guests, both are with me online, and firstly, I want to welcome you, David Martin, welcome to you.

David Martin:
Thank you.

Mikkel Svold:
David is Senior Vice President and General Manager of Aeronautics at Terma, and you're joining us from Atlanta in the U.S. And also joining us this time, from Aarhus in Denmark, Steen Lynenskjold, welcome to you.

Steen Lynenskjold:
Thank you so much.

Mikkel Svold:
And Steen is the Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Terma. And Steen, to get us started, can you set the scene a little bit, the Farnborough International Airshow, what is it, and why is it relevant?

Steen Lynenskjold:
Well, first of all, it's the largest worldwide airshow. Every second year it's in London, and then it alternates with the Paris airshow. So this time around it's coming up here in July, in London, but it's also the first time since three years. After everything having been closed down due to COVID and everyone being locked up a little bit, it's actually coming back again. And at the same time, Terma is a company where a large part of what we do has to do with aeronautics and with spacecraft. So being an aerospace company, that is the event for us to be, and also one that we highly prioritize.

Mikkel Svold:
Yeah, because I was just about to ask, who is actually attending? What people are attending the airshow?

Steen Lynenskjold:
Well, the Farnborough Airshow is a little different to many other trade show in the sense it is actually both at very high executive levels, but also with subject matter experts and customers. So it actually, you'll find that many organizations will be represented with a pretty big crowd. And you can have meetings at different levels. So I think that's what really makes it very attractive is that it can be highly efficient to share notes and get to understand how things are right now in a very effective way.

Mikkel Svold:
And you've both attended before, is that right, David?

David Martin:
Yes.

Mikkel Svold:
Yes. And can you maybe just, for the listener who hasn't been there, try to kind of paint a picture of what it's like? Set the scene. Is it like a festival, or what is it?

David Martin:
Yeah, it's not all champagne and receptions. So there's a lot of hard work that goes into it. So they can be long days. It's a long commute in from the city to the actual venue. And then it's a long day of meetings and engaging with customers and potential customers. And then the day is not over then. Then you head back and there are receptions, sometimes multiple receptions and dinners. So it's a full-on engagement, but a very rich opportunity for a company like Terma.

Mikkel Svold:
And then, what is it that makes it relevant for Terma to participate? Well, yeah, this year, but also in general, I guess.

David Martin:
Yeah. I-

Steen Lynenskjold:
Well-

David Martin:
... Go ahead, Steen.

Steen Lynenskjold:
... No, no, no, no, I think it's really the engagement. I mean, first of all, these events are highly pre-planned. So, many meetings have been booked into calendars before we actually go there. And the people meeting up have prepared for the meetings. So it's not like you just run into each other. It's actually a very coordinated and effective way of sharing information, the notes. And I think that whole respect for the process and you want to get something out of it, you have traveled, you want to get the meetings going and that kind of stuff naturally means that the people we'll meet, come really prepared. And so do we.

Mikkel Svold:
But is there no leisure time at all?

Steen Lynenskjold:
Define leisure time. Because obviously, there are also aircraft in the skies. So, every afternoon is full of aircraft on display. So that's where I saw my first, F-35 flying, and so forth. So, Farnborough, or Paris have always been the place where you've seen some of the aircraft for the first time. So, that's also exciting.

David Martin:
So we'll be meeting with existing customers and we'll be seeing new customers, but we'll also get exposed to competitors, and different solutions, and capabilities that are out in the marketplace that can serve to innovate and inform us as well.

Mikkel Svold:
And do you use it mostly to connect with, I know you say competitors, but I know also that competitors can also be partners for some projects. And do you use it for connecting with new people, or is it like you say, Steen, mainly pre-organized meetings where you meet with people you already know?

Steen Lynenskjold:
I mean, obviously there's a large number of meetings with people you already know, but you also have to think of the industry. I mean, many of the organization we work with, we work with them for 20 or 30 years. So, it's also very long-lasting relationships and partnerships we have. So if you take a company like Lockheed Martin, who is the manufacturer of the F-35, they also did manufacture the F-16s. And Terma has worked with them for years. So it's also a question about continuing and aligning that. But bear in mind with a three year pause, a lot has changed. There are new people on different positions. We have to get to know what are the organizational changes? Who is it now that is in charge of the different areas. So it's also a way of calibrating and reconnecting with some of the companies we know.

Mikkel Svold:
And now, a lot of change to say, because there's three year gap since the last Farnborough International Airshow. And David, maybe you can take us through a little bit about why is Terma relevant to visit at the airshow, and what are you bringing? And what has changed?

David Martin:
Great question. And I'm very excited to be featuring both our aero structures business, as well as integrated EW solutions. And so from our aero structures business, especially featuring F-35. And the message that we're projecting to the marketplace; to our customers and to the market is that we are a trusted partner to the world's premier fifth generation fighter. And so, many people don't realize that Denmark and Terma have been a part of this program for two decades. And we were an original partner nation. And over the years, Terma has invested heavily, but F-35, participating in that program puts Terma on the global stage. And that's good for-

Mikkel Svold:
Can you elaborate on that? Why is that? What does that mean?

David Martin:
... Yeah, so F-35 is a highly visible program. And the companies that we work with, we, Terma, are companies like Lockheed Martin, like General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman. And so we get a chance to interface. And Farnborough is an excellent example of that with senior executives from these big companies. And so it places Terma and Denmark on a global stage. And we offer so many pieces, critical pieces to the platform, including air-to-ground pylons, conventional and leading edges. And then also something called the gun pod, which we can talk about a little bit later, that's a very significant piece of what Terma provides.

Mikkel Svold:
And what has changed? Now, obviously there's a situation in Ukraine that has changed the picture, and NATO has changed at least how NATO acts. How do you expect this to become part of the conversation at this Farnborough Airshow? Steen, maybe you would know.

Steen Lynenskjold:
Well, and also, I think that is a very important question you ask here, Mikkel, because there's so much change going on. I mean, if you just look at just in Denmark, how much happened since February 24th in the decision space and how quickly decisions are made, the same is true for our allies. I mean, so everyone is trying at this point in time to make up a situation, awareness, understanding what is that all going to mean to us?

Steen Lynenskjold:
So, the opportunity to have talks with others who are in the industry, get to understand how do you look at this from, not just from a Danish perspective, but also from an American, or a German, or other perspectives. It gives us a chance to sit down and say, "Okay, that's what the danger thing. That's what we..." I know that happens at the political level, but at the industrial level, it also is very important. And we are a security company, so security policy and industrial policy, gets very close.

Mikkel Svold:
I was just about to ask why is it that it's important for the industry as well? I know, if the industry has to produce more, obviously we need to know it beforehand so we can scale up production. But is there something else that has an impact?

Steen Lynenskjold:
Definitely, because one thing is the short term reaction. What are you going to do here now to whatever threat and crisis? That's obviously what you say, do more of what you already do. But at the same time, one of the areas that are in high attention also from a Danish perspective, is the whole Arctic region. And you're also looking at the Arctic from many perspectives. I mean, first of all, it can be a safety aspect, because the ice is melting. Passages for ships will come up. But at the same time, it's also a security situation where you have to know what's going on.

Steen Lynenskjold:
So then it becomes more like, how are you going to handle that situation? How are you going to create a better situation, awareness? How much are you going to do as a nation? What do you do with your allies? And there's an industrial dimension to that. It's not just a political thing. It's also an industrial thing. So how do we team up with companies who might work with us and help with us, and where do we fit into the bigger scheme?

Mikkel Svold:
And this, the whole political scheme, or the whole situation in the world, I guess it is. You say that you align, or you get to know what... How does that look from the U.S. perspective? How does it look from France? How do... Are they typically very different, or are they typically very much aligned between the countries? The way that we see different things in the world?

Steen Lynenskjold:
I think they can be, obviously there will be some common ground. I mean, at least between our allied nations and the NATO nations do share their values and have, in many ways, identical priorities. But when it then comes to the specific tasks at hand, it becomes very different, and there Denmark basically will now, both with the Arctic areas we talked about before, but also with everything that's happening around the Baltic, and with perhaps Sweden and Finland joining NATO, if that goes through. So, there's a lot of things happening right now around Denmark, that kind of changes in these years.

Mikkel Svold:
And if we cross the pond, how does that look from your side of the Atlantic Ocean, David?
David Martin:
I think the whole Ukrainian crisis has actually driven convergence with the U.S. and a lot of the European nations, and actually the global community. And so I think you're going to see a much stronger momentum for alignment. You look to organizations like NATO, and I think you're going to see more energy and momentum there to make sure that there's interoperability, and that we're fully supporting budgets.

Mikkel Svold:
I think we are sidetracking a little bit, so I want to come back to the airshow, I think. David, you mentioned the EV partners and the integrated EV capabilities that you're bringing, but you also mentioned the gun pod. And maybe, I know that there's been some development to the gun pod. Can you briefly take us through some of what you're bringing? And I also know that you're actually bringing a gun pod, or a...

David Martin:
Yeah. No, thank you very much. So, I talked about the aero structures, and specifically F-35 and how that puts Terma on the global stage. But the second thing that I mentioned was this integrated EW solutions. And I'll work my way down to the multi-mission pod. But I don't know if people at Terma understand or the market understands, but we've actually delivered well over 2,500 self-protect or defensive aid systems globally. Those have been fielded.

Mikkel Svold:
Wow.

David Martin:
And so a large capability that Terma brings and will be showing and demonstrating at Farnborough is the integrated solutions that we bring to the market and our ability to integrate. The second value stream under that integrated EW solutions is our controller, which is actually the glue that allows us to be able to integrate a lot of the different sensors, so that we have a truly integrated solution.

David Martin:
And then the third area is select subsystems. And so a very important part of the value proposition that Terma brings to customers is, we have some critical pieces, like displays. And one of the subsystems that we'll be featuring is what's known as smart dispensing. And so, we'll be talking about that and have graphics there to talk about that. And smart dispensing is actually coming into its own. As we see developments with what's known as smart expendables, in other words, moving from flares, to expendables that can be programmed and they can do different things. And to having more of a digital capability in what's known as agile threat adaptation.

David Martin:
So we'll be talking about that. But the fourth area under the integrated EW solutions is our advanced structures. And Terma has a very rich heritage. In fact, we've delivered well over 15,000 F-16 pylons alone, and our structures are fundamental for opening the door, and enabling our integrated solutions. And so, typically we have done pylons, and F-16 is one of the major platforms. We talked about gun pod earlier, and that's something that Terma actually owns the intellectual property for, we have designed that.

Mikkel Svold:
Can you, just for those who don't actually know what it is, can you just, what is it, what does it look like?

David Martin:
So it's a large pod. And so this will actually have a full scale model in the booth, and it houses a general dynamics gun, actually, that fires 20 millimeter rounds. And so, we'll have that gun, that pod on display in our booth. And so, what we have developed is a concept to adapt that gun pod into what we call a multi-mission pod. And the multi-mission pod will enable integrated capabilities, whether its electronic warfare and self protect, or other sensors, reconnaissance subsystems. And that will enable the integration into this multi-mission pod.

Mikkel Svold:
And just for me to understand, so the gun pod, which was the basics for the multi-mission pod, and the gun pod is basically a container that you can attach underneath the F-35 aircraft. Is that right?

David Martin:
Yeah, that's exactly right. And the key points to take away is, first of all, we have a successful gun pod that's in production. And so we're fully leveraging that design and what we know about that. And so, Terma understands that we're certified on the F-35 and so we're going to leverage that. The second thing is that the F-35 platform is entering a new stage of maturity. And if we look back at what happened with the F-16, at this stage in the life of the platform, there are many, many different capabilities that can be added to upgrade the capability of the platform, or to have unique missions for the platform. So we believe that the maturity of the aircraft is at a point where this would be a value to Lockheed Martin, as well as to countries that are buying the platform.

Mikkel Svold:
And the multi-mission pod. Can you put anything into that? It's a container that's so flexible that you can basically put everything or anything you need for particular operation, or particular mission? Is that right?

David Martin:
Yeah, there will be size and weight limitations, but this is something that Terma has a lot of experience being able to do with pylons. And that is to be able to integrate and to adapt the structure. So there will be limitations from a platform perspective in terms of weight and profile of it. But Terma is very good at being able to work with the sensor provider and to be able to integrate those to maximize the size, the weight, the power, so that it's an integrated package. That's what we've proven to be able to do. And I believe we can do that.

Steen Lynenskjold:
And maybe just to continue down that communication, David, I think also it's important that, having that capability both with the mechanical side, with the electronic side, with the software side, and the systems know-how in one company, is actually fairly unique. We are very specialized in this field and we have a lot of capability. Other companies, they would have to go to an external supplier for these different parts. And they wouldn't have the know-how how this fits together and to get that integrity in place.

Steen Lynenskjold:
So, I think it's an area where we have proven that we also work very well with partners, because many of the things we put into such a multi-mission pod will not be of our own make. We will take equipment from partners and integrate that and provide that capability. And that means we create value both to the operators of the aircraft. They can get what they want, but we might also become the partner to work with for the people who do the subsystems to sell them onto the platform. And it kind of goes two-ways.

David Martin:
That's right.

Mikkel Svold:
And I think for the end users, this must be very exciting as well, because the multi-mission pod basically introduces, as far as I understand it, introduces a lot of flexibility and agility into a platform, the F-35 aircraft, that is rather expensive to amend, or to change. Right?

David Martin:
Exactly. No, it is. They are very reluctant to change things that are already integrated into the platform itself. So an external capability is both helpful from a cost standpoint, but also from a schedule standpoint, to be able to introduce changes and the platform-

Mikkel Svold:
Quite rapidly.

David Martin:
... Yeah. And the platform needs to stay relevant, and to stay relevant there are new capabilities that we can add that actually enhance the value. And as Steen said, we already have folks that are coming to us, potential partners, that have capability that they're interested in integrating. So that's interesting, but for the platform owner, Lockheed Martin, and for the users, this expands the capability and the ability to stay relevant.

Mikkel Svold:
That is super exciting, I think.

Mikkel Svold:
Steen, you were adding?

Steen Lynenskjold:
We talked before about all the changes that are going on in the external environment. And I think that's actually quite characteristic, because when you have an aircraft, like the F-35, or for that sake the F-16, I mean, you have that aircraft for a very, very long time. And the ability to adapt to new mission requirements, or to say, okay, that's reality. It's very hard to predict all the different needs you have in the future.

Steen Lynenskjold:
So, this is also a way of utilizing the aircraft as a multi-mission aircraft as well, and saying, "Okay, I mean, maybe not all aircraft need that capability. We do have certain missions where that could be something we want to do." And that's where a thing like the MMP would benefit, because you can get it, you may have a huge number of aircraft, but maybe only a third of them need this capability. So it's also a cost saving to add this one, and flexible way of adding that kind of capability.

Mikkel Svold:
And that will be presented at the booth, so people can come and see a full scale version of it?

David Martin:
Yes.

Mikkel Svold:
And I think that is super exciting. I want to just quickly, before we round off here, I want to just ask you, do you have any specific expectations for this show? Coming back to that. David, what are you expecting from the Farnborough International Airshow?

David Martin:
I expect that I'll be really tired and have sore feet. I expect some fantastic engagements with our existing customers. I expect to learn new things about our markets. I expect to identify new opportunities, and I'm very, very excited to be able to, and proud of what Terma offers to the marketplace. And so I'm very excited to connect people that may not know our capabilities or be aware of our capabilities with what we do.

Mikkel Svold:
And Steen, what about you? What are you looking forward to?

Steen Lynenskjold:
I'm looking forward to just getting back. And I think I've been to airshows for 20 years or so. So it's been something that I really have been missing for the last three years. And those are intense days. You get really worn out, but it also is highly effective. So I think it's a very, very efficient way of calibrating. And also, with the huge number of partners and customers, we have. Obviously, we have individual bilateral meetings with a lot of them over the year, but to have everyone in the same place, at the same time, just makes things extremely efficient. And it's going to be fun. It's going to be fun. And also to see new aircraft and see some air shows. I mean, meet people. I look forward to that.

Mikkel Svold:
It's going to be super interesting to see also what partnerships might come out of potential new connections, I think. Steen Lynenskjold and David Martin, thank you so much for joining us. And I wish you were a very great trip.

Steen Lynenskjold:
Thank you.

Mikkel Svold:
And to the listener, if you are attending the Farnborough Airshow, or the Farnborough International Airshow that is, make sure to stop by our booth and say, hello. And if you, like me, are not attending, I hope that you'll enjoy this peek into the world of aeronautics. And I hope also that you'll give our other more normal episodes a listen to. So, in any case, thank you so much for listening.