Dashing between the snowflakes to dig out trends in the aerospace and defense electronics industry
THE MIL & AERO BLOG, 18 Feb. 2015. Well it was hard enough, but I finally made it to the West Coast and back last week to chat with aerospace and defense electronics companies at the AFCEA West show in San Diego, and it turns out the results were worth the ordeal.
After the wreckage of sequestration, our industry finally may be making a turnaround. Exhibitors at last week's Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association trade show say they were surprised at the enthusiasm and engagement of show attendees after at least a couple of lackluster years.
If that's the case then the difficulty of getting out the West Coast and back were worth it. As an aside, my flights from and back to Boston were delayed by two successive blizzards. I was delayed by a day going out, and by two days coming back. I had to endure a red-eye flight getting back to avoid another potential delay with yet another storm coming through.
This season has been one for the record books. I've just never seen this much snow coming so quickly. By Christmas it had looked to be shaping up as a mild winter. Although we had a white Thanksgiving here in New England, we had a green, open Christmas, and after last year's harsh winter I thought we might be dodging a bullet.
So much for being lucky. It really began for us starting on 19 Jan. with what we then called the Great Northeast Blizzard of 2015, which left a foot or more of snow in its wake. With Winter Storms Marcus and Neptune after that, we're hip-deep in show and I'm facing the prospects of shoving my roof. More on that later.
But back to the AFCEA show, I heard several comments at the show about happy exhibitors who apparently are in purchase mode. Couple this good news from the show with a healthy Defense Department budget request earlier in the month, and I'm thinking perhaps we've seen the bottom of the most recent downturn in the defense business.
No one is talking much about sequestration these days, although spending caps still could come into play later if Congress doesn't do something about them, which I believe lawmakers eventually will tackle.
As for now, those involved in the defense electronics industry are seeing a clear path forward and are ready to start spending money. Over the past couple of years few, if any, could predict how defense markets would go, and people were keeping their powder dry by sitting on their money.
Now, at long last, they seem to be ready to do business again, based on what I heard at AFCEA. Now, if there's just something they could do about the incessant snow in New England ...