Alabama officials announced three aerospace projects on Tuesday, including plans by Science and Engineering Services to expand its Huntsville plant and add 450 jobs over the next five years.
The nearly $70 million expansion in Huntsville was announced by company officials and Gov. Robert Bentley at the Farnborough International Air Show in England.
Also at the air show, Bentley and GE Aviation officials announced that the company's Auburn plant will be the first of its kind to mass produce additive components for the jet propulsion industry. The governor said GE will invest $50 million in the existing 300,000-square-foot facility to prepare for the additional work. That will bring the company's total investment to $125 million.
The plant employs about 70 people, and company officials said the announcement will accelerate hiring.
Equipment installation will begin in late 2014 and production of additive components should begin in 2015.
"This groundbreaking technology is another step that keeps Alabama at the forefront in the aviation industry," said Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who is attending the air show.
Bentley also announced in England that GKN Aerospace has opened a composite design engineering center at its Advanced Composite Structures plant in Tallassee in central Alabama. The plant employs more than 1,000 people.
Science and Engineering Services, based in Columbia, Maryland, already has a major presence in Huntsville with 750 employees. The company provides maintenance, repair and overhaul services for airplanes, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, and ground combat systems. Its customers include the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and international governments.
"SES will continue to provide great support to our current customers, but we will also be bringing in some new key programs supporting the Department of Defense, aircraft original equipment manufacturers and foreign military customers," company Chief Executive Officer E.J. Sinclair said.
Bentley said the announcements for Huntsville, Auburn and Tallassee show how Alabama has positioned itself to be a leader in aerospace and aviation.