Curtiss-Wright consolidates further by acquiring Dy 4 Systems

By John McHale

ROSELAND, N.J. — The makeup of the military single-board computer market changed dramatically last month when two of its major players agreed to come under the same roof.

Officials at Curtiss-Wright Corp., the parent company of military board vendor Vista Controls in Santa Clarita, Calif., signed a definitive purchase agreement with Solectron Corp. in Milpitas, Calif., to acquire its Dy 4 Systems, Inc. business of Kanata, Ontario — Vista's number-one competitor in the board market — for approximately $110 million. Dy 4 has annual sales of $72 million.

The new acquisition, combined with Vista Controls and Curtiss-Wright's acquisition of Systran Corp., makes Curtiss-Wright a major provider of mission-critical embedded computing solutions for the aerospace and defense markets, Curtiss-Wright officials say.

Curtiss-Wright also recently purchased graphics-board supplier Peritek in Oakland, Calif., Systran, a data-communications designer in Dayton, Ohio, and Novatronics a manufacturer of electric motors and position sensors for the defense, commercial, and aerospace markets in Stratford, Ontario.

Dy 4, like Vista, will operate as a business unit of the Curtiss-Wright Controls Inc. subsidiary in Gastonia, N.C. Dy 4 will not combine with Vista, but will retain its branding and identity to maintain consistency with its customer base, says Doug Patterson, director of marketing for Vista Controls.

Patterson declined to comment further until the U.S. Department of Justice has approved the deal.

"As part of the Curtiss-Wright family, Dy 4 Systems will be able to leverage the capabilities of other Curtiss-Wright companies who are also major suppliers in our market-space such as Vista Controls, Systran, and the Peritek Corp.," said Tom Quinly, Dy 4 president in a letter to his employees on Dy 4's Web site. "This will result in more targeted products and services to better serve our customer base."

Dy 4 officials also declined to comment until the deal has been approved.

"The Dy 4 acquisition is a beacon of intelligent thinking in what has been a period of stupid acquisitions and mediocre mergers," says Ray Alderman, executive director of the VME International Trade Association in Fountain Hills, Ariz. The deal is good for both companies, Alderman says.

The Dy 4 acquisition boosts Curtiss-Wright's presence in the market for military commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, and Dy 4 has an owner that "recognizes its value and that will nurture its growth instead of stunting it," Alderman says. The move also gives Curtiss-Wright more leverage in system-level contracts for avionics and vetronics applications, Alderman adds.

Many large systems integration companies wanted to buy Dy 4, but Curtiss-Wright won out over GE Fanuc of Charlottesville, Va., Alderman says. GE Fanuc, which bought board supplier VMIC in Huntsville, Ala., may go hunting for another military embedded board supplier to keep up with Curtiss-Wright, he says.

This acquisition demonstrates how much companies such as Vista, Dy 4, and VMIC are at the mercy of big companies like Curtiss-Wright and GE Fanuc, says Jerry Krasner, vice president of market intelligence for Embedded Market Forecasters in Framingham, Mass. Now the acquired companies have the clout to get even bigger, meatier contracts, he says.

The deal does not change the roadmaps of Dy 4 and Vista competitor SBS Technologies in Albuquerque, N.M., says Frank Willis, vice president of marketing at SBS. Radstone officials have a similar response to the deal.

"First, I am not sure I would count Vista as a major player, particularly of board-level products," says Radstone Managing Director Peter Cavill, who calls Vista "a second-tier supplier of boards ... with some systems-integration capability." Systran, he says, "is very much a niche player in areas like Fibre Channel and reflective memory with minimal rugged capability."

Dy 4 is Radstone's major competitor, Cavill says. Radstone "has been sold for the third time in three years — and that sort of thing can't be good for any business," Cavill continues. "At least they have now been sold off by an owner that didn't want them and didn't know how to manage them."

Cavill says he expects pressure to merge with other board suppliers, but intends to keep his company independent. He says Curtiss-Wright leaders will need time to take full advantage of their recent acquisitions.

"Whether the result will be a stronger, better military embedded computing competitor remains to be seen," Cavill says. Dy 4 did not fare well under its previous owners, and "who's to say that they will under Curtiss-Wright," Cavill points out.

"I suspect that this acquisition will act as a catalyst for the other leading players to either merge with one or more of their peers and/or to increase their market share by acquisition," Cavill predicts. "I would not, therefore, necessarily assume that a year from now Curtiss-Wright will be the biggest player in MilCOTS."


Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account.


The Innovation That Matters™ Quiz

Innovation is one of the key drivers in the Defense industry. View this short video of Leon Woo, VP of Engineering at Mercury Systems, on the role of innovation. Then, answer 3 simple questions correctly to be entered into a drawing to win an Eddie Bauer fleece jacket!

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR TWO MOST RECENT WINNERS. "Nick from SPARWAR" and "Bridget from AOC."


Military & Aerospace Photos

Related Products

RR2P Removable Canister RAID System

Transportable data storage for mobile field use aboard planes, ships and ground transport. 2U, du...

API DC Link Power Film Capacitors

High reliability DC link capacitors for power inverter applications which require superior life e...

XPort9200 Conduction- or Air-Cooled 12-Channel High-Speed CAN Bus XMC or PMC

The XPort9200 is a conduction- or air-cooled 12-channel CAN bus XMC or PMC module. Each high-spee...

Related Companies

Winchester Systems Inc

At its founding in 1981, Winchester Systems introduced its first 5 MB disk system for Intel development system users....

API Technologies Corp

Who We Are API Technologies is a dominant technology provider of RF/microwave, microelectronics, and security technol...

Extreme Engineering Solutions Inc (X-ES)

 Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) is a leader in the design, manufacture, and support of standard and ...
Wire News provided by   

Most Popular Articles

Webcasts

Digital signal processing for signals intelligence and electronic warfare

Military & Aerospace Electronics presents an expert Webcast on the latest hardware and software trends for high-performance embedded computing (HPEC) applications in demanding military signals intelligen...
Sponsored by:

Advantages of Intel Architecture Products and Wind River Solutions in Military & Aerospace Applications

This webinar explains the individual advantages of the Intel Architecture hardware, available for long-life supply, and the WRS software portfolio.  There are extraordinary advantages of combining such ...
Sponsored by:

Engineering the VPX high-speed data path for physical and signal integrity

Join Arrow Electronics and TE Connectivity, for an overview webinar of the standards, technologies and trends involving VITA and TE.

social activity

All Access Sponsors


Mil & Aero Magazine

February 2014
Volume 25, Issue 2
file

Download Our Apps



iPhone

iPad

Android

Follow Us On...



Newsletters

Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information
SUBSCRIBE

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers
SUBSCRIBE

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications
SUBSCRIBE

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles
SUBSCRIBE