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Business Leader of the Week: Meet Amy Gowder, GE Aerospace Defence & Systems President

IFM_Amy Gowder
Amy Gowder has been honoured with a 'Top 40-Under-40 Aviation Executive' by Aviation Week in 2012

The multinational conglomerate General Electric (GE) was founded in 1892 by legendary American inventor Thomas Edison. Over its 132 years of operational history, the venture has developed into a diversified company, with a rich presence in industries like power, renewable energy, healthcare, and aviation. When it comes to revolutionising an industrial vertical with cutting-edge technology, GE is the trusted name.

Among all of its group subsidiaries, GE Aviation has been the ‘Claim to Fame’ for the 132-year-old venture. GE Aerospace (also known as GE Aviation) manufactures aircraft engines, avionics, and other related components. The company has emerged as a crucial player in both the commercial and military aviation space through its engineering excellence.

Among its other industrial commitments, GE is known for being a provider of medical technologies and services, including patient monitoring, diagnostic imaging, and healthcare IT solutions. Also, the group is offering grid solutions, hydroelectric systems, and wind turbines in the field of renewable energy.

In 2022, GE appointed Amy Gowder as the President and CEO, Defence & Systems of GE Aerospace, to lead an operation focused on developing and manufacturing engines and systems for military air combat, trainer, tanker, helicopter, and marine applications.

    Who is Amy Gowder?

  • Born and brought up in the United States, Amy Gowder completed her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Arizona State University in 1998 and a Master of Business Administration from Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Sloan School of Management in 2010
  • She led the Engineering, Operations, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Quality and Mission Assurance, Safety, Health & Environment, and Information Technology departments at Aerojet Rocketdyne before joining GE
  • Before joining Aerojet Rocketdyne, Amy Gowder served as vice president and general manager for Lockheed Martin’s Training and Logistics Solutions in the Rotary and Mission Systems business
  • Her profile also has a noteworthy mention of her prior work experience in Accenture, apart from specialising in Supply Chain Management for the high technology industry
  • Amy Gowder has been honoured with a ‘Top 40-Under-40 Aviation Executive’ by Aviation Week in 2012 and induction into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015
  • She also served on multiple advisory boards, committees, and task forces in the states of Texas and Florida, advising on aerospace and defence as well as economic development topics

Under Amy Gowder, GE To Consolidate Its Asian Commitments Further

During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s United States visit in 2023, Washington and New Delhi finalised a USD 1 billion deal, where GE would supply F414 engines, in collaboration with India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Tejas MK2 fighter jet.

The deal includes an unprecedented 80% technology transfer and licensing arrangements. The deal will see the realisation of the co-production of 99 jet engines, in a cost-friendly manner through the technology transfer.

GE Aerospace has been present in India for over four decades now. With the deal, it will be able to overhaul its facilities in the country, at a time when it is facing pressure from rivals like Rolls Royce and Safran Group, as the latter also eyeing a pie of the growing Indian military aviation market.

GE’s F414 engine, which is a turbofan one and has been used by the United States Navy for over 30 years, is equipped with a dual-channel full authority digital engine control (FADEC), a six-stage high-pressure compressor, an advanced high-pressure turbine, and a “fueldraulic” system for nozzle area control. It offers exceptional throttle response, afterburner stability, and unrestricted performance. In fact, Tejas MK2 will see the usage of F414-INS6, an India-specific variant of the engine. It will help the in-development aircraft with improved range and mission endurance compared to its predecessor, Tejas MK1A, which is powered by GE’s F404-GE-IN20 engine.

Apart from Tejas MK2, there are talks around India’s upcoming fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and aircraft carrier-based Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) using F414-INS6 as well. While the Modi government is in discussion with Rolls Royce and Safran over the development of a clean-slate fighter jet engine in the coming days, GE has thrown its hat for the project as well, as securing another contract here will help the company to establish its unparalleled dominance in the military aviation market.

As per Gowder, the GE-HAL deal will move forward further in 2024, with the American company offering a comprehensive technical proposal to establish the Indian manufacturing unit in partnership with HAL. The scope of the technology transfer will surpass that of GE’s previous partnerships around the world (even surpassing that of South Korea and Turkey), as exporting engines and components from India will be a viable business option for the venture in the coming years.

“Early this year (2024), we will have a proposal to them and that kicks off formalising the agreement with HAL and the government. We will bring over our engineers and supply chain resources to start the co-production. It will take most of this year to get it kicked off and going,” she told the India-based Economic Times.

GE Aerospace will also be investing USD 11 million to transform its Singapore aircraft engine repair facility into a state-of-the-art ‘Smart Factory’, powered by automated inspection systems, innovative material removal processes and tools like the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, cloud storage and data analytics.

This facility was the first in the world to implement new additive manufacturing technology for the repair of commercial jet engine airfoil components.

“The Smart Factory will expand these additive technologies and processes focused first on high pressure compressor (HPC) airfoils for GEnx engines, followed by CFM LEAP engines. Ultimately, the technologies will be leveraged to other engine models including CFM56 and CF34,” stated Asian Aviation.

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