Both military and commercial customer demand is behind ITT Exelis’ decision to open a new composite design and manufacturing center on Thursday in Salt Lake City.
“Strong demand from our domestic and international customers has fueled this expansion,” said Jim Barber, vice president and general manager of the Exelis Electronic Systems Integrated Structures business.
The new facility provides increased capacity and enhanced automation capability for advanced commercial and military composite aircraft structures.
Composite structures are used increasingly by airframers as an 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 addition of automated fiber placement and tape laying capability combined with high speed machining, inspection and assembly, we are positioned to provide optimal composite solutions more efficiently,” said Barber.
The expansion aligns with the company’s strategy to invest strategically in broad-based government and commercial solutions, such as aerostructures and air traffic management. By adding 250,000 square feet to its Salt Lake City footprint and hiring 100 employees during the past year, the company is gearing up to meet military and commercial customer demand.
Exelis has more than 40 years of experience in the design and manufacturing of composite structures and assemblies in Utah. Along with producing parts for military applications, such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the Marine Corps’ heavy lift helicopter, the CH-53K, Exelis provides engines to GE for a wide variety of aircraft and vacuum tanks for several of the Boeing 7-series jets.
“The investment Exelis has made will benefit Utah’s economy and reputation as a technology leader for years to come," said Utah Governor Gary Herbert. It is a great pleasure to be associated with a company that includes a dynamic workforce, dedicated suppliers and top tier customers who share in the same vision.”