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Rockwell Collins Lands Deal to Boost Production

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A deal to supply large-format flight displays on the next generation of Boeing's 737 jetliner will provide a major boost to production at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids for many years.

Chicago-based Boeing announced Thursday the selection of Rockwell Collins large-format flight displays as standard equipment on the flight decks of its 737 MAX aircraft, which will replace the current 737 NG in 2017.

The 15.1-inch liquid crystal displays in each cockpit will provide visual "real estate" that will be useful as the NextGen air control system is deployed in years to come. They Rockwell Collins displays were a prominent cockpit feature in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

"This is a very significant win for our company and solidifies Rockwell Collins as the Boeing standard for flight deck displays," Rockwell Collins vice president and general Manager of Air Transport Systems Jeff Standerski said.

Rockwell Collins was not the display supplier for the current 737 model, the NG, meaning the 737 MAX shipments will add market share for Rockwell Collins.

Demand for the single-aisle 737 MAX has been high, with over 900 orders already received. Airlines are buying the new jetliners to take advantage of a project 13 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, driven by improvements in aerodynamics and propulsion, along with its improved flight deck.

Sales are expected by Rockwell Collins to top 4,500 over the production life of the model, and a typical new cockpit design can be the standard for 20 to 25 years.

Each of the 737 MAX cockpits will use four of the multifunction displays, which can each supply multiple layers of information and graphics.

The announcement came on the day when Chicago-based Boeing announced "firm" configuration details on the 737 MAX to the aerospace industry.

Development work on the displays was conducted primarily in Cedar Rapids, and manufacturing is expected to take place in Cedar Rapids and Manchester.

Rockwell Collins is already the display provider on the Boeing 747-8, Boeing 767 and the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker based on Boeing's 767 air frame.

Standerski said Rockwell Collins worked closely with Boeing to make sure the decision to provide the larger size displays on the 737 would be supported within the airline industry.

The Boeing 737 MAX win was clearly being savored at Rockwell Collins. Standerski attributed the win to Rockwell Collins offering good value, the right technology and a strong record of past performance.

"This is significant recognition for the dedication and hard work of Rockwell Collins employees," he said.

Rockwell Collins shares rose 70 cents, or 1.3 percent to close at $52.42 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, while the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.23 percent.