HondaAero officially broke ground today on its newcorporate headquarters and state-of-the-art jet engine plant in Burlington,North Carolina, on property located adjacent to the Burlington-Alamance Countyregional airport. Honda Aero also announced that it has successfully run a proof-of-conceptversion of the advanced and efficient GE Honda HF120 turbofan engine, and thatthe engine has exceeded the company’s internal development targets for boththrust performance and specific fuel consumption (SFP) on its first test run.The company is moving toward its goals of engine certification in 2009followed by the start of mass production(1) in late 2010.
“Today, we break new ground for Honda and our effort to enter the businessof aviation,” said Satoshi Toshida, senior managing director of Honda MotorCo., Ltd. “The GE Honda Aero engines built here in North Carolina will powera new class of advanced light jets.”
The all-new, 102,400-square foot Honda Aero facility will consist of36,000 square feet of office space, a 58,400-square foot production plant, andan 8,000-square foot engine test cell. Honda Aero will employ approximately70 associates when the plant reaches its initial annual capacity of 200 GEHonda engines within about one year of production startup. The company isinvesting approximately $27 million for construction of the headquarters andmanufacturing facility, including equipment.
By achieving a higher thrust-to-weight ratio and lower fuel consumption,while minimizing emissions and achieving lower noise than other engines in itsthrust class, the GE Honda HF120 has been chosen to power two of the newestand most advanced products in the “very light jet” market — SpectrumAeronautical’s Freedom, and HondaJet, which will be produced in neighboringGreensboro, North Carolina, by the Honda Aircraft Company, Inc., a separateHonda company.
The HF120 is a higher thrust successor to Honda’s original HF118 prototypeengine, which has accumulated more than 4,000 hours of testing on the groundand in-flight. Honda research on jet engine technology started in 1986, withdevelopment of the HF118 engine beginning in 1999. GE-Honda collaboration onthe HF120 began in early 2005. The first core test of the GE Honda HF120 wasconducted in early 2007, followed by full-engine testing later in the year.
GE Honda Aero Engines is a joint venture between GE Aviation and HondaAero, established in 2004 for the development, certification andcommercialization of jet engines in the 1,000 to 3,500 pounds thrust class.
Honda Aero, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.,the world’s preeminent engine maker, producing more than 26 million enginesannually for a diverse range of products including automobiles, motorcyclesand power equipment products. Founded in Japan in 1948, Honda beganoperations in the U.S. in 1959 with the establishment of American Honda MotorCo., Inc. (http://www.honda.com), Honda’s first overseas subsidiary. Hondabegan U.S. production of motorcycles in 1979 and automobiles in 1982. Hondabegan making power equipment products in Swepsonville, North Carolina in 1984,producing engines and lawnmowers. The company has invested more than$9 billion in its North American operations, with employment of more than35,000 associates, and annual purchases of more than $17.6 billion in partsand materials from suppliers in North America.