GE To Pursue Jet Engine Coatings Facility In Alabama

MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA -- August 25, 2010 - GE Aviation will create an environmental coatings facility for advanced military jet engine components in Alabama.

Governor Bob Riley, GE Aviation President & CEO David Joyce, and Alabama Development Office (ADO) officials made the announcement today during a ceremony in the Alabama State Capital.

GE Aviation, a GE operating unit based in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a world-leading provider of commercial and military jet engines and components as well as integrated digital, electric power, and mechanical systems for aircraft.

Working closely with ADO officials, GE Aviation is in the final stages of selecting a location for creating an Environmental Coatings Center of Excellence. It will enhance components for the GE/Rolls-Royce F136 jet engine for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35 program.

The JSF F-35, the largest military procurement in U.S. history, is a multi-role aircraft to replace numerous tactical fighter aircraft flying today. Potential F-35 production for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marines and international customers is expected to reach more than 5,000 aircraft over 30 years.

The GE/Rolls-Royce F136 engine, currently in development test and preparing for flight test next year, is among the most advanced jet engines ever created. Environmental coatings are key to enhancing the performance and durability of its components. They protect the base metal on components from harsh thermal and corrosive environments.

The F136 engine is a product of the best technology from two world-leading propulsion companies, GE Aviation and Rolls-Royce. F136 engine development is being led at GE Aviation in Evendale, Ohio (Cincinnati suburb), and at Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis, Indiana.

GE Aviation's new Alabama facility, which will be approximately 200,000 square feet, is expected to open in the 2011-2012 timeframe to support initial F136 production beginning in 2013. The facility is expected to employ 300-400 people when the engine ramps up to full rate production later this decade.

"We are deeply gratified by the tremendous support received from Gov. Bob Riley and his whole team at the ADO," said David Joyce, president & CEO of GE Aviation. "The F136 engine is a very long-term program, with production anticipated for decades. We are thrilled to make Alabama part of our advanced technology network and to commit to high-technology jobs for the state."

"Alabama welcomes GE Aviation and the high-tech jobs it is bringing to our state with this new facility," said Governor Riley. "This is a project we have aggressively pursued and we're proud this prestigious international company is coming to Alabama. Our state is seeing amazing growth in aviation and aerospace jobs and it's great to see this progress is continuing."

Due to anticipated F136 production volume, GE's need for developing environmental coatings and associated manufacturing processes continues to grow. The technology requires a highly skilled and flexible workforce, and it will create meaningful collaborative opportunities for Alabama's university system.

Given the long-term potential for the F136 program, GE Aviation will host a supplier symposium in October to assist small companies in Alabama desiring to do business with GE. The Alabama Development Office and the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics have teamed with GE Aviation to organize the event.

While GE Aviation today is committing to its first operation in Alabama, the larger GE already has a significant presence in the state. GE has 1,600 employees in Alabama through its GE Enterprise Solutions operation in Huntsville and GE appliance plant in Decatur.

GE Aviation generated revenues of $18.7 billion in 2009. The company also has the largest and fastest-growing installed base of jet engines in commercial aviation and a global services network to support them.

GE Aviation employs approximately 38,000 employees and operates more than 50 manufacturing and service facilities around the world. The company invests $1 billion annually in jet propulsion R&D programs. This long tradition of commitment to new technology has helped GE establish its leadership position in the industry with a proud list of "firsts" in both the military and commercial jet propulsion, tracing back to 1942 with America's first jet engine.