Suffolk lands another high-tech company

Published 10:16 pm Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cobham Defense Systems, one of four divisions of a company that has provided sophisticated military and civil systems for more than 70 years, will open a new location in Suffolk early in 2010.

The company, which designs, develops and manufactures critical technology for network-centric and intelligence operations, will open a manufacturing facility in the Liberty Building at 6900 Harbour View Blvd., according to Suffolk spokesperson Debbie George.

In an announcement about the new industry late Tuesday, city officials stated that Cobham expects the facility will create nearly 200 new jobs in Suffolk during the first five years of its operation.

Cobham’s Suffolk facility will complement and support an existing one in San Diego, according to the announcement.

The company will make advanced composite products for the aerospace and defense industry, with a focus on high-volume production of advanced aircraft engine components, aircraft and rotorcraft structural products, unmanned aerial vehicle components and missile and munitions products for the U.S. defense industry.

“The most significant factors that sold us on Suffolk included its outstanding quality of living, close proximity to excellent academic institutions with complementary curricula to our industry and, most importantly, a high-technology skilled and disciplined workforce available through the over 18,000 retiring military personnel annually,” said Jeremy Wensinger, president of the Cobham Defense Systems division.

According to a company Web site, Cobham dates back to 1934, when Sir Alan Cobham began pursuing his dream that “one day, there would be a landing ground in every major town.”

His company, Flight Refueling Limited, had an early focus on exploring the techniques necessary to complete air-to-air refueling.

An aviator in the United Kingdom, Cobham had been the first pilot for the Havilland Aeroplane Hire Service.

Through the years, the company he built has advanced the science of air-to-air refueling, crew oxygen supply and vehicle intercom systems.

During that time, it has expanded its focus to include work on land, sea and space platforms, as well as the field of aviation.

Its four divisions operate on five continents, with more than 12,000 employees serving customers and partners in more than 100 countries and producing annual revenues of more than $2.1 billion.