Huntington Ingalls Industries, the nation’s biggest builder of warships, is evolving into something more: a leading provider of artificial intelligence, unmanned systems, digital reconnaissance, simulations and training for its military customer. In a effort to keep up with the Navy’s ambitious ideas for how to deter and defeat aggressors in the future, the company has acquired companies like Hydroid and Alion aimed at making it a data-driven tech enterprise, capable of supporting concepts like distributed maritime operations. On March 23 I interviewed newly-minted CEO Chris Kastner about where he wants to take the company, and he set forth a persuasive vision of how evolving to embrace the full potential of the digital revolution can meet the needs of HII’s Navy customer, its stakeholders and its shareholders. The company’s Mission Technologies business unit is already generating a quarter of revenues, and it offers the prospect of big upside opportunities to complement the steady cashflow and predictability of shipbuilding operations. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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