France's Ratier-Figeac is to take over production of the entire range of US parent Hamilton Sundstrand's propeller products including the military NP2000.
Located in Figeac, south-west France, the company has manufactured aircraft propellers since 1908, including the 5.3m (17.4ft)-diameter eight-bladed all-composite units for the Airbus Military A400M airlifter.
© US Navy
Hamilton Sundstrand makes NP2000 propellers for the E-2CHawkeye
Ratier was acquired by United Technology division Hamilton Sundstrand in 1998, and propeller manufacture accounted for 16% of the French business's $150 million turnover in 2006. Other products manufactured include actuators and cockpit controls, aircraft structural parts and repair and overhaul services for commercial and military customers.
The shift in responsibility will transfer about 100 jobs to the French company, says Hamilton Sundstrand. Employment levels in the USA, however, will remain stable as the positions will be reassigned to other projects.
While Ratier, which employs 939 people, declined to comment, Hamilton Sundstrand says it will transfer manufacture not only of the NP2000, but also its other propeller technologies. The eight-bladed, all-composite NP2000 is used on the Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye and is compatible with the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150 and Rolls-Royce T56 and AE2100 engines for the Lockheed Martin P-3C and C-130J. The commercial 568F propeller is used on the ATR 42-500 and ATR 72-210 regional turboprops.
Midi-Pyrenees region president Martin Malvy says: "Confirmation that US propeller manufacture is to transfer to the Figeac-based Ratier division is excellent news. It serves as proof of the confidence which the board and the shareholders of United Technology have in the Ratier factory, in its management and in the whole of its workforce."