All 230 employees of RUAG’s Swiss aerostructures division are to join Pilatus as part of an ongoing “unbundling” of the state-owned entity.
Stans-based Pilatus will also acquire all RUAG Aerostructures’ machinery under the government-brokered deal for an undisclosed sum.
The latest move leaves the once diversified RUAG with two entities: a domestic maintenance, repair and overhaul operation supporting and acting as “the main supplier of technology” to the Swiss armed forces, and an international arm, now comprising space technology supplier Beyond Gravity, which Bern plans to privatise by 2025.
RUAG Aerostructures, based near Lucerne, has produced parts for Pilatus for over 30 years, including PC-21 fuselages and horizontal stablilisers for the PC12. Pilatus says the acquisition will allow it to increase its in-house production capacity and “add new competencies”.
Under the agreement, Pilatus will rent a new facility at Emmen airfield from RUAG’s real estate arm. For a “limited period”, the business will continue to serve third-party customers, but Pilatus says the intention is for “future operations [to be] directed exclusively to making parts and components for aircraft production in Stans”.
A separate agreement gives Pilatus the option of acquiring an adjacent plot of land for expansion.
RUAG has been divesting non-core businesses for the past five years. Its Geneva- and Lugano-based business aviation MRO operation was sold to Dassault in 2019.
In 2021 it sold its Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany-based Dornier Do 228 production line to US defence giant General Atomics, and the following year, Thales bought its simulation and training unit.
The next year saw the purchase of RUAG Australia, which supported the country’s Lockheed Martin F-35 fleet, by Australian defence group ASDAM.
At the end of 2023, RUAG went on to offload its aerostructures business in Germany and Hungary to Mubea Group.