DAYTON, Ohio, 11 May 2012. GE Aviation is growing its presence in Dayton, Ohio, with a $65 million investment in the region’s aerospace corridor, revealed Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO of GE Aviation Systems, during a keynote address at the Dayton Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting.
GE Aviation has added 400 jobs at its three Dayton plants and initiated construction of a new R&D center at the University of Dayton over the past five years. Company officials are hopeful GE’s commitment to the region will bolster efforts by Ohio leaders to make Greater Dayton a test-flight hub for future unmanned aircraft, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
“GE plans to grow and attract talent to Dayton from around the world,” says Lorraine Bolsinger. “We are investing $17 million in capital improvements for our Dayton facilities and another $50 million in our new Electrical Power Integrated Systems R & D center that will be operational next year.”
The new R&D center will serve as the heart of GE’s electrical power business with 150 to 200 researchers in the next five years depending on future programs. The R & D center will position GE to pursue business for the next generation of planes, many of which will be unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), says a spokesperson.
GE provides electrical power and distribution for UAVs such as the Global Hawk, a surveillance plane used in Afghanistan. The use of UAVs is growing rapidly in both military and commercial aviation; the Teal Group predicts the annual $6 billion spend in UAVs worldwide will nearly double in the next decade.
Within the next year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will designate six sites across the U.S. as future flight testing centers for UAVs. Ohio is competing with at least 22 other states.