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Abu Dhabi to Start Composite Aerostructure Manufacturing in 2010

22 June 2009

Mubadala, the development and investment company that is a catalyst for the economic diversification of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, will start construction of its Abu Dhabi Composites plant within two weeks and the plant will be operational next year.

The development of a thriving international aerospace hub in Abu Dhabi, with a focus on knowledge-transfer, technology and innovation, is a key element of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. Mubadala is bringing together existing aerospace assets and forming industrial partnerships to build a high technology knowledge intensive aerospace industry for Abu Dhabi.

The new plant will be called Strata and construction of phase one - a state of the art 21,600m² facility - will commence on June 29th 2009, with the manufacturing of advanced composite aerostructures beginning in Q4 2010. Subsequent phases of expansion are planned to provide a total facility in excess of 60,000m² over the next few years.

Strata has formed industrial partnerships with leading aerospace companies EADS, Airbus, FACC and Alenia Aeronautica (a Finmeccanica company) through which composite aerostructure manufacturing programs will be established in the new plant. Initial contracts with these partners carrying a total value in excess of US$2 billion have already been finalized. The plant will manufacture advanced composite aerostructures, including flap track fairings, ailerons, spoilers and assemblies for Airbus aircraft and the empennage for the ATR Regional Aircraft - (ATR is a joint venture between EADS and Finmeccanica).

Support will be provided by Mubadala’s partners to develop the manufacturing processes that are needed for international industrial certifications and for the future development of primary structures. Initially the facility will focus on manufacturing composite components and assemblies, but in conjunction with its partners. Strata will progressively build capabilities that include engineering, design, and research & development.

Ross Bradley, the former Farnborough Aerospace Consortium chief executive who joined Mubadala Aerospace in October 2008, is CEO of Strata and leads a senior management team that has accumulated a wealth of experience in aircraft manufacturing.

“The construction of this plant is a crucial step for Abu Dhabi in achieving its ambition for Strata to become a Tier One supplier for the next generation of civil aircraft during the next decade and beyond,” commented Homaid Al Shemmari, Mubadala Aerospace Associate Director.

“R&D initiatives we plan to establish with our partners will ensure that Abu Dhabi is at the forefront of the global aerospace industry. Education and training initiatives will be put in place to equip UAE nationals and expatriates alike with relevant industry skills, to enable them to play a part in the aerospace industry Mubadala is building for Abu Dhabi’ Mr Al Shemmari added.

Ross Bradley, Strata Manufacturing CEO, said:

‘This investment in establishing a market leading advanced aerostructures facility will support the demands of current and future generations of commercial aircraft. Strata will supply highly competitive products and services to the global aerospace industry, supporting the establishment of Abu Dhabi as a major aerospace center’.

Strata is anticipated to provide over 500 employment opportunities ranging from Technical roles to Engineering and Managerial roles between 2010 and 2014. The number of jobs will rise to over 1000 by 2020.

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