Sparta Inc., dba Cobham Composite Products, has opened a factory in Suffolk, Va., where it is making carbon-fiber-composite parts primarily for aircraft.
The San Diego-based firm officially opened the facility May 3.
It is a 73,500-square-foot facility with 17 employees. Between Suffolk and San Diego, Cobham Composite Products employs 165. It expects to increase its Suffolk workforce to 200 by 2014.
The site's initial work will focus on making carbon-fiber composites in sheet molding compound and unidirectional prepreg form to produce bomb covers, unmanned aerial vehicle fuselage parts and internal parts for engines that will be used in F-35 and F-22 fighter aircraft.
The Suffolk site will soon be equipped with customized compression presses and machining centers for the production of internal parts for Pratt & Whitney's F-135 and F-119 jet engines.
We have a stable workforce in San Diego but future growth will go to the Suffolk plant, Paul Oppenheim, vice president and general manager of Cobham Composite Products, said in a May 12 telephone interview.
Although he would not disclose exact numbers, Oppenheim said the company has experienced significant annual growth during the past four to five years and officials expect that to continue during the next four to five years.
Cobham received a $300,000 grant from the Governor's Development Opportunity Fund, a $73,600 grant from the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, an $824,400 grant from the city of Suffolk, and $1.6 million in federal funds for production of the Miniature Air-Launched Decoy fuselage, officials said.
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