Dowty Propellers has begun construction of a new headquarters in UK city Gloucester, which is to become operational in late 2019.

The GE Aviation subsidiary’s previous facility was destroyed by a fire in 2015, and operations have since been spread across several sites in the same area.

Dowty says the new facility will be used to manufacture and repair propellers, and will include sensor-equipped “Brilliant Factory” machinery to enable production data analysis in real time.

“We’ve built a strong heritage in the area and are proud that we are continuing our history of working in Gloucester,” states the company’s president Oliver Towers.

He says the new site will provide a “bespoke environment that ensures we continue our position as a world leader in the design, development, manufacture and support of electronically controlled, all-composite propeller systems”.

The manufacturer is in the middle of a three-year future propeller technology project dubbed “Digital Propulsion” in co-operation with UK partners, including the National Composites Centre, the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, and the Manufacturing Technology Centre.

Half of the project’s £20 million ($25.6 million) budget is financed by GE, with the UK government providing £9.5 million.

Dowty says the project has made “good progress” and is aimed at “ultimately ensuring that the UK remains a leader in propeller system development and support”.

UK aerospace minister Richard Harrington states that Dowty’s decision to build a new headquarters in Gloucester “shows how our modern industrial strategy is ensuring the UK remains a hub for high-skilled work and technology both now and in the future”.