Raytheon Technologies Canada: A focal point for defence, sustainable aviation and community building

Pratt & Whitney Canada President Maria Della Posta joined Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and industry partners to announce plans to advance hybrid-electric propulsion technology and a flight demonstrator program as part of a CA$163 million investment, supported by the governments of Canada and Quebec.


“Pratt & Whitney Canada is proud to be a leader toward evermore sustainable aircraft propulsion technologies and be an integral part of Canada’s green recovery plan,” said Della Posta. “With a long-time commitment to sustainability and as Canada’s top aerospace investor in research and development, we are driving economic growth, innovation and workforce expertise to benefit the environment. Hybrid-electric technology has an important role to play in enabling the next step-change in efficiency for aircraft engines, and we are uniquely positioned to demonstrate this potential.”


The announcement was a clear signal that Raytheon Technologies' contingent in Canada – which includes Pratt & Whitney, Collins Aerospace, Raytheon Canada and Raytheon ELCAN – is pushing innovation in aerospace and defence to the benefit of not just Canada, but the rest of the world as well.


For Lee Obst and his colleagues at Collins Aerospace, there’s a lot to be excited about as they begin realizing the advantages of the 2020 merger that brought the businesses together.


“We haven’t yet capitalized on all the benefits of Raytheon Technologies bringing all these great capabilities and companies together. We’ve only just begun,” said Obst, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada and country lead for Collins’ Customer & Account Management Global Affairs group.


These businesses, with decades of history and partnership in Canada, are collaborating in new ways, innovating across aerospace and defence and building communities from coast to coast to coast.

Sustainable aviation

Raytheon Technologies has worked with the Canadian government to develop a sustainability strategy for its aviation sector.

There’s a green technology transformation underway in commercial aviation. The combined capabilities of Raytheon Technologies can play a significant role in that revolution, not just in Canada, but worldwide.

One of the key collaborations taking place inside the company is on display aboard the Airbus A220 aircraft, which combines Pratt & Whitney’s fuel-efficient Geared Turbofan engine with avionics from Collins Aerospace that help pilots optimize their routes and air traffic controllers coordinate the skies, driving down unnecessary fuel burn and wasteful holding patterns.

“It’s not any one single thing in and of itself that’s going to make that transition to sustainable aviation,” Obst said. “But collectively, these are areas that are certainly in the core competencies and capabilities of both Collins and Pratt & Whitney.” 

Electrification of flight is another area where Pratt & Whitney will focus on engines and Collins Aerospace on the generation and distribution of power.

“You need both in a system like that to work,” said Obst, who predicts fully electrified aviation around 2040. “I think the world has recognized that aviation can be a significant part of the climate change solution.”

Collins also has a strong manufacturing presence in Canada. Its largest in-country site is in Oakville, just outside of Toronto, and is home to more than 1,000 employees working in the Mechanical Systems business. The teams create the main, nose and wing landing gear assemblies for commercial and military aircraft. In June 2020, the group won the Hydro Conservation Leadership Award from the Oakville Chamber of Commerce for its commitment to reducing its environmental impact. Through nine sustainability-related initiatives, the team reduced their CO2 emissions by 185 tons.

But there's more to the future of sustainable aviation than technology and manufacturing – it also takes government support. As part of Canada’s green recovery plan, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund is supporting Pratt & Whitney Canada’s technology demonstrator airplane, which will help put Canada’s aerospace industry at the forefront of global efforts to make aviation more sustainable. The Government of Québec is also supporting the project through Investissement Québec and the Ministère de l’Économie et de l'Innovation, as part of an initiative known as, “Aéronef pour la mobilité numérique et verte de demain” (Green and digital aircraft of tomorrow).

The new hybrid-electric propulsion technology will drive significant improvements in aircraft efficiency by optimizing performance across the different phases of flight, targeting 30% reduction in fuel and CO2 emissions for a regional airliner. Pratt & Whitney Canada is working with De Havilland Aircraft of Canada (De Havilland), a division of Longview Aviation Capital, to integrate this hybrid-electric technology into a De Havilland Dash-8 100 regional aircraft flight demonstrator. Pratt & Whitney Canada will target ground testing in 2022, leading to flight testing of the demonstrator in 2024. This demonstrator will include an advanced electric motor and controller from Collins.

Raytheon Technologies was also among the companies that worked as part of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada to help the Canadian government develop an aerospace strategy for its aviation sector. The result: Canada will contribute CA$2 billion in funding to research and development, with much of that going toward developing more sustainable technologies.


Helicopter sitting on the ground
The CH-147 is being outfitted for the Canadian military. With Collins Aerospace already providing the complete avionics suite, and Raytheon Canada managing most of the maintenance for the helicopter, there is great potential for the businesses to deliver integrated solutions.

The Canadian military wants more than just planes, ships and land vehicles. They want those platforms integrated, with all the ancillary systems – radars, jammers, optics, navigation and more – on board and working together, not to mention an in-country service and support package to sustain them.

Collins Aerospace, Raytheon ELCAN and Raytheon Canada are about to make that happen.

“We’re partnering with other companies to be a lead integrator and provide the overall solution to air, land and sea. As we’re seeing the complexity in technology increase, we really see a focus on that integrated solution,” added Terry Manion, vice president and general manager of Raytheon Canada.

The businesses, each with a strong history of working within Canada, see opportunity for collaboration on initiatives such as the CH-147, a multi-mission helicopter originally designed for the U.S. Army but now being outfitted to meet the requirements of Canada’s Medium-to-Heavy Lift Helicopter program.

Collins Aerospace already provides the CH-147’s complete avionics suite, and Raytheon Canada manages most of the maintenance support and the warehousing of the service support team.

“There’s obviously future opportunity there for us to work together when that contract comes for renewal in terms of providing a better, more integrated turnkey solution,” said Obst. “That combined capability between Raytheon Canada and Collins can greatly improve our customer support and service.”

Another opportunity lies in the most recent budget announcement from the Canadian government around new R&D programs for the modernization of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD. The modernization focuses on early warning and command and control, and it positions both Raytheon Canada and Collins to collaborate and participate.

Raytheon Canada has its North Warning System, a radar system jointly operated by the United States and Canada in 47 sites across the Arctic from Labrador to the Alaska border. The Arctic represents another growth opportunity with the ongoing pursuits.

“This really represents a ‘blue ocean’ opportunity,” said Manion, referring to the business’ collective expertise in command and control, situational awareness, cyber, army modernization and missile defence.

Pratt & Whitney also supports the Canadian government fleet and military operators with more than 200 aircraft in service, which totals more than 380 engines.

Community building

Castle looking building with ivy growing up walls
Raytheon Technologies partners with the University of Toronto and several other academic institutions to advance research and development.

Raytheon Technologies invests in the communities where its employees live and work, both to strengthen local economies and to develop a future workforce of innovators.

“We’re big believers in the STEM and internship programs. These help build the pipeline of educated and talented people who could come and work for us,” said Manion. “We’re also involved in various local charities. All of this helps build the communities.”

To date, Raytheon Technologies’ investments in communities across Canada include:

• Pratt & Whitney Canada’s annual investment of over CA$500 million in research and development at Canadian universities, and its more than CA$1 billion spent on research into high-performance engines since 2014.

• Raytheon Canada and Pratt & Whitney Canada employees’ volunteer work with Let’s Talk Science, FIRST Robotics Competition and Girls Who Code.

• Pratt & Whitney Canada’s more than CA$1 million annual corporate giving and collaboration with more than 75 universities and charitable institutions in Canada.

• Raytheon ELCAN’s contributions to strategic research and development each year through direct research and long-term partnerships with University of Toronto, University of Waterloo and Royal Military College.

• Collins Aerospace’s support of local community charities and events such as early programing development through the student Robotics Challenge; HOPE volleyball fundraising for Cancer research; National Arts Centre Children's program; Air Cadet Flight Scholarships; Soldier On & Army Run; and many others.

The benefits of those community-building initiatives go beyond the economy and workforce. They’re also about shared values.

“Being a good corporate citizen is part of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s DNA,” said Della Posta, the campaign co-chair for Centraide of Greater Montreal in 2021. “Our financial contributions and employee volunteering are just some of the ways we are shaping a better world.”

Raytheon Canada’s Inuit Training and Development Program benefits the communities within the Comprehensive Land Claim Agreements by recruiting, developing and training Inuit beneficiaries to work within the North Warning System Program as employees of the company.

“This has really been a tremendous program to help make the community feel engaged. It makes the employees and their families feel like a part of that broader community,” said Manion.

Raytheon Canada is also a longstanding lead sponsor of Field of Crosses in Calgary. In the weeks leading up to the event, which takes place every November, Raytheon Canada employees volunteer to prepare a field of 3,600 crosses – one for each local military member who has died in military conflicts.

“It allows our employees to connect more closely with what our armed forces do and the sacrifices that people have made,” said Manion.