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Alabama Aerospace Advances

Headlines in Alabama’s burgeoning aerospace industry in the last 12 months.

Building on its 50-year history in Alabama, Boeing Co. has announced plans to invest another $70 million and add another 400 employees by 2020. Boeing has 2,700 employees in Alabama now working primarily in space and defense projects.

NASA is on track for continued strong funding, at least through the Senate Appropriations Committee stage of the federal budget process. As of July, the powerful committee recommended a $19.5 billion budget for 2018 and $2.15 billion for the Space Launch System.

Blue Origin, the spacecraft company owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, has announced a Huntsville plant, valued at $200 million and employing 400 people — if it wins a United Launch Alliance contract to build rocket engines. Huntsville already has approved a tentative agreement with the company.

RUAG Space, a Swiss company that makes rocket elements, began operations inside the United Launch Alliance complex in Decatur.

Yulista, a company that performs technology upgrades, modification, maintenance and training for rotary and fixed-wing aircraft, has opened a new 80,000-square-foot hangar at Huntsville Executive Airport in Meridianville, more than doubling its work space.

Winkelmann Group, a German company that works in aerospace and other sectors, announced a $12 million investment to create metal forming operations in Auburn. The announcement of Winkelmann Flowform Technology LP came at the Paris Air Show.

Arista Aviation marked its first commercial sale  — four modified UH-60A helicopters — during the Paris Air Show. The sale to the International Defense and Aerospace Group LLC marks a new business venture for Arista, which until now has performed maintenance, repair and overhaul at its Enterprise facility.

Construction is in progress on GE Aviation’s two Limestone County plants — valued at $200 million. The two will make silicon carbide for ceramic matrix composite components for jet engines and land-based gas turbines. The plants should be in operation in 2018.

Dynetics Inc., a Huntsville-based aerospace company, is developing a $14.2 million aerospace testing facility near Decatur in Morgan County, after being awarded a $221 million NASA contract to manage the design, analysis, manufacturing, testing and assembly of the Universal Stage Adapter for the Space Launch Systems. Dynetics’ new facility should be complete by 2019.

Dynetics also won part of a contract to design and test reusable unmanned aerial systems for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Lockheed Martin won a $413 million contract from the Air Force to produce another 360 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles. Work will be done at the firm’s Troy plant.

Defense contractor Leonardo DRS has announced plans to assemble its T-100 jet trainer in Tuskegee, if it wins an Air Force contract to produce the planes. The plant would employ 750 people.

Continental Motors, long a maker of piston aircraft engines, has announced plans for a major new manufacturing facility and corporate office near its present site at Mobile Aeroplex. Founded in Michigan in 1905, the company is now owned by AVIC International Holding Corp. based in China.

Alaska’s state-owned Alaska Aerospace Corp. opened a Huntsville office to try to win more space-oriented business and promptly landed an $80 million contract with the Missile Defense Agency to test detection systems for incoming missiles.

Nedra Bloom is copy editor for Business Alabama.

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