-“GE Aviation will continue to grow its Dayton presence in a dramatic way,” said Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO of GE Aviation Systems, during her keynote address today at the Dayton Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting.
In the past five years, GE Aviation has added 400 jobs at its three Dayton plants, initiated construction of a new R&D center at the University of Dayton, and hopes the GE commitment to the region will bolster efforts by Ohio leaders to make Greater Dayton a test-flight hub for future unmanned aircraft.
GE Aviation is headquartered in the nearby Cincinnati suburb of Evendale, Ohio.
“GE plans to grow and attract talent to Dayton from around the world,” said 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 be the intellectual heart and soul of GE’s electrical power business with potentially 150 – 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). GE is a big player in this emerging market, providing electrical power and distribution for such UAVs 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 will designate six sites across the U.S. as future flight testing centers for UAVs. Ohio is engaged in this important competition with at least 22 other states.
“This will be hotly contested and will have long-term implications for Ohio,” commented Bolsinger. “We hope that GE’s presence in Dayton will play a positive role in Ohio’s effort to become a future hub for UAV test activity.”
Bolsinger continued, “This is an opportunity to establish an enduring relationship between the FAA, Wright-Patterson, NASA and Ohio aerospace. Let’s make sure Ohio is part of the next exciting chapter in aviation history.”