ITT Exelis opened its expanded $120 million design and manufacturing center for composite aerostructures in Salt Lake City, Utah, where it plans to create 100 jobs.
The new 250,000 square foot addition to ITT Exelis' 130,000 square foot facility, at the International Center on West Amelia Earhart Drive near Salt Lake City Airport, is designed to provide increased capacity and enhanced automation capability to manufacture advanced commercial and military composite aircraft structures, the firm said.
"Strong demand from our domestic and international customers has fueled this expansion," said Jim Barber, vice president and general manager of Exelis Electronic Systems Integrated Structures business. "This facility leverages our core strengths and capabilities as we invest in new technologies to meet the needs of our customers and the aerospace industry."
The State of Utah received a Gold Shovel award from Area Development magazine this year in the 3 million or fewer population category for the investment garnered and jobs created by its top projects in 2011. The ITT Exelis project was also recognized as a "Project of the Year." Pictured here (left to right) are Spencer P. Eccles, executive director, Governor's Office of Economic Development; Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert; and Dave Melcher, CEO, Exelis Inc. accepting these awards at the project groundbreaking.
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, he said. 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, Exelis is 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. By adding 250,000 square feet to its Salt Lake City footprint and hiring 100 employees during the past year, Exelis is taking the necessary steps to meet military and commercial customer demand. Last year the firm received state Economic Development tax incentives, which includd hiring quotas.
"Today's grand opening is evidence that industry is thriving in Utah," said Gov, Gary Herbert. "The investment Exelis has made will benefit Utah's economy and reputation as a technology leader for years to come. 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."
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, Virginia-based Exelis provides engines to GE for a wide variety of aircraft and vacuum tanks for several of the Boeing 7-series jets.