Smiths Aerospace Lands New Aircraft Work

May 24, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — Smiths Aerospace is gearing up for more work following the U.S. Air Force’s approval for the production of 782 JPATS T-6A aircraft to train entry-level Air Force and Navy student pilots in primary flying skills. Smiths could realize nearly $350 million in sales over the life of the contract.

Smiths Aerospace is a key supplier of electronic, electrical and mechanical systems to Raytheon Co., a defense and aerospace systems supplier based in Lexington, Mass.

Raytheon is the sole manufacturer of JPATS T-6A aircraft. The aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney PT6A-68 engines, of which Smiths is already a major supplier.

Key systems from Smiths Aerospace on the T-6A include cockpit multifunction AMLCD displays, electronic control systems and a major part of the hydraulic system.

Smiths Aerospace will manufacture the displays and systems at its U.S. facilities in Michigan, Florida and Washington, and in the UK and Canada.

The company develops and manufactures the flight data recorder system here in Grand Rapids at its Patterson Avenue SE plant, said spokesperson JenniferVillarreal.

The system is a new integrated data acquisition recorder incorporating flight data acquisition and crash protective memory in a single box configuration, together with a data transfer system for maintenance data retrieval.

Raytheon has already supplied the U.S. Air Force and Navy with 168 of the aircraft, which the military has been trying out.

The T-6A is designed to replace the Air Force’s T-37B and Navy’s T-34C aircraft.

Raytheon’s production rate is about five aircraft a month.

The remaining 614 T-6As are on contract under full-rate production, and Smiths Aerospace estimates that over the lifetime of the aircraft, the T6-A business will represent more than $350 million, which would include replacement of parts and systems over the years.

Villarreal said the aircraft’s life is expected to extend to 2017.

Smiths Aerospace, part of Smiths Group PLC, holds key positions in the supply chains of all major military and civil aircraft and engine manufacturers.

The company is considered a world leader in electronic systems, actuation systems, precision components and detection systems.           

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