It’s all systems go for UTC Aerospace empire

The former Lucas Aerospace plant in Wolverhampton is to be expanded following its latest change of ownership.

The site in Stafford Road, Fordhouses, had been Goodrich Actuation Systems since it was bought by the Goodrich Corporation from TRW in 2002.

Following the £10.5 billion acquisition of Goodrich by fellow US group United Technologies, the Wolverhampton site has become part of the new UTC Aerospace Systems operation created by the combination of Goodrich with Hamilton Sundstrand.

United saw the purchase of Goodrich as a means to increase the range of equipment that it sells to the top jet manufacturers.

UTC Aerospace Systems, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, now takes in 177 sites in 26 countries, including 21 in the UK, and emplys 40,000.

The president of the renamed UTC Actuation Systems is Mike Gardiner, who held the same role for Goodrich AS and the headquarters for its business unit is the Fordhouses site where 1,300 are employed.

Mr Gardiner, who joined Lucas Aerospace in 1985, was also a former chief executive of Aero Engine Controls, a joint venture between Goodrich and Rolls-Royce.

The expansion of the site is due to begin at the end of the month and is needed to cope with extra work after winning a string of new multi-million pound contracts, including one signed last year with aeroplane manufacturer Embraer.

The social club on the site, which was founded in 1903 as HM Hobson and was bought by Lucas in 1969, will be demolished to make way for the expansion.

Full details of the project, including exact costs and the number of jobs the expansion would create, have yet to be revealed.

UTC Actuation Systems supplies a range of flight control systems for both commercial and defence customers. Its systems are currently used on ther Airbus A350, Boeing 787 Superliner and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning 2.

Its systems were showcased at this year’s Farnborough Air Show when it announced a contract to provide an advanced DB-110 airborne reconnaissance system for the Royal Saudi Air Force F-15S modernisation programme.

Another famous name from the Wolverhampton aerospace industry has also become part of UTC Aerospace Systems.

HS Marston Aerospace in Wobaston Road, Fordhouses, which was owned by Hamilton Sundstrand, is in the engine and control systems division. It supplies a range of heat transfer and fluid management products.

Goodrich Actuation Systems reported a 12 per cent rise in profits to £60 million and a rise in sales of 17 per cent to £496 million in the first quarter of this year.