Croswell Speaks at Kale JV Grand Opening Ceremony
Kale Group and Pratt & Whitney celebrated the opening of a new factory today in the Izmir Aegean Free Zone, which will specialize in manufacturing hardware for the F135 engine powering the F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. Kale Pratt & Whitney is a joint venture between Turkey-based Kale Group, and U.S.-based Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corporation (NYSE: UTX).
Good afternoon. I'm Bennett Croswell and I am the president of Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, which is also a division of United Technologies. It is with great pleasure that I return to Turkey and to be with you today to celebrate the Kale Group and Pratt & Whitney joint venture and the Grand Opening of our new state-of-the art manufacturing facility.
Let me begin by saying that on behalf of Pratt & Whitney and UTC, I would like to express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives or who were affected by the tragic mining accident in Soma. Mr. President, we join with the international community in wishing a speedy recovery for all those injured, and we extend our thoughts and prayers to the people of Turkey.
We live in an interconnected world, and we need to stand with our friends, especially in difficult times. Relationships matter. Although we are separated by a continent and an ocean, we in the United States value our close ties with the great country of Turkey. Those ties are represented by many things including the strategic partnership we enjoy as long time members in NATO. And today, the bonds of our partnership are strengthened by Turkey's involvement in the F-35 Lightning II program. Let me say how pleased and encouraged all of us associated with the program were to hear of Turkey's decision to procure it first airplane in Lot 10. Truly this is a key milestone event for the program.
Now if you'll allow me, I'd like to mention briefly just a few points about the strong ties that already exist here between Turkey and United Technologies Corporation.
Our sister company, Sikorsky, has been operating in Turkey since 1988, working with local industry to manufacture parts for Sikorsky helicopters. Earlier this year, Sikorsky signed agreements with the Turkish government and local aerospace contractors to manufacture 109, T-70 helicopters.
On the commercial side of our business, as you may know, Pratt & Whitney has the majority interest in the IAE V2500 engine program, so we were delighted with Turkish Airlines' recent announcement that the V2500 will power their next order of 25 A320 aircraft.
Those aircraft will be in addition to the 85 V2500 powered A320s already in their fleet. And much of the work done on those engines has and will continue to be done at the Turkish Engine Center, which is a joint venture that was established in 2008 between Turkish Technic and Pratt & Whitney. This facility, located in Istanbul, has become a center of excellence for the repair of CFM56 and V2500 engines.
As you can see, we recognize and value the tremendous talent and industrial capabilities that exist here in Turkey. That is why we began developing partnerships and strengthening relationships with Turkish industry years ago and why we are delighted that we will be able to collaborate on the F135 engine powering the F-35 Lightning II. Pratt & Whitney is proud to power this game changing fighter aircraft. And we are especially proud to be partnered with Kale Group and local Turkish industry on this important program.
As we prepare for an increase in F135 engine production, we are actively seeking suppliers and partners who can deliver high-quality parts, while meeting cost targets. As an example, Turkish industry is already machining parts of the F135 compression system. And now, the Kale-P&W collaboration has established a world-class manufacturing capability to produce military aircraft engine components for our customers around the world.
Partnerships such as the one with Kale are integral to Pratt & Whitney's overall manufacturing strategy, which is based on balancing capability, capacity, flexibility and affordability to provide as much value as possible to our customers. When you tour the facility later today, you will understand why Kale fits into that strategy. You will witness the advanced machine tools and how they relate to the capability resident in this facility. You will clearly see that Kale has demonstrated their ability to support production of high-quality, complex aerospace hardware, and why Kale is ready to join the other leading aerospace companies that are part of the F135 program.
We at Pratt & Whitney continue to expand our efforts on the F135 in Turkey. Just over two weeks ago, we signed a Letter of Intent with your government to establish the in-country capacity to conduct both F135 engine production and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul activities. We believe this is just another example of how much P&W values the expertise that exists here – the type of expertise that you will witness on a first-hand basis when you tour our facility.
Mr. President, as we celebrate the grand opening of our joint venture with Kale Group, I would like to thank you and all the government dignitaries who have joined us here today. Thanks as well to the local media for attending.
We appreciate the involvement of the Turkish Government, SSM, with our mutual efforts here, and we look forward to a long partnership together on the F135 program. Special thanks to our partners, the Kale Group – and particularly to Zaynep and Osman – we are proud to be partnered with you and your employees, and we're looking forward to working together for many years in the future.