SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 9, 2011 - ITT Exelis (NYSE: XLS) has reached the halfway point in the construction of its new composites design and manufacturing center. The 250,000-square-foot initial addition of office and manufacturing space will provide a significantly expanded area where Exelis will fabricate aerospace composite structures.
The expansion is aligned with the company’s strategy to invest strategically in broad-based government and commercial solutions, such as aerostructures and air traffic management, and is being driven by increases in demand for composite parts on military and commercial aircraft, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the Marine Corps’ new heavy lift helicopter, the CH-53K.
To support that growth, Exelis is working closely with universities and applied technical colleges in Utah to ensure a well-trained workforce is available.
“The local support from Davis Applied Technology College (DATC) and Salt Lake Community College has been fantastic,” said Jim Barber, vice president and general manager of the Exelis Integrated Structures business. “For example, DATC has created a course that fully prepares entry level composite technicians. Potential employees who have completed that training certainly have an advantage as we staff up.”
Composite structures are used increasingly by airframers as a proven alternative to metal structural parts on commercial and military aircraft, as well as on unmanned aerial vehicles. These structures add value because they help decrease an aircraft’s weight and fuel consumption and increase its resilience to environmental conditions and in-flight stress. With the company’s new facility, Exelis will be better positioned to meet customers’ growing needs for composites by leveraging a wider variety of automated and nonautomated processes to deliver high quality structures more efficiently.
“The use of high-strength composite materials continues to increase due to their lighter weight, greater durability, and significantly lower maintenance cost,” said Barber. “We fully expect this trend to continue, as aircraft have to be more efficient and more cost effective to operate in the future.”
Exelis has contracted with Okland Construction and GSBS Architects for the expansion project. The operation, which is part of the Exelis Electronic Systems division, is planned to go live in the first quarter of 2012.
ITT Exelis Electronic Systems provides innovative integrated solutions for the global defense, intelligence, information assurance and commercial aerospace sectors. As a leader in electronic warfare and communications, we leverage our experience and innovation to ensure the success of our customers’ critical missions. Our technology leadership extends into the areas of airborne electronic attack, networked and satellite communications, counter-improvised explosive devices, airspace management, surveillance systems, airborne and shipboard radar, acoustic sensors, advanced composite structures and electronic weapons interfaces.
About ITT Exelis
ITT Exelis is a diversified, top-tier global aerospace, defense and information solutions company with strong positions in enduring and emerging global markets. Exelis is a leader in networked communications, sensing and surveillance, electronic warfare, navigation, air traffic solutions and information systems with growing positions in cybersecurity, composite aerostructures, logistics and technical services. The company has a 50-year legacy of innovation and technology expertise, partnering with customers worldwide to deliver affordable, mission-critical products and services for managing global threats, conflicts and complexities. Headquartered in McLean, Va., the company employs about 21,000 people and generated 2010 revenue of $5.9 billion. www.exelisinc.com
John C. Dench