Small firms think big for US

Five UK aerospace firms join forces, with Government aid, to enter multi-million pound industry

Five small UK aerospace firms, with a combined turnover of £14m, formed a joint-venture company on Tuesday in an attempt to break into the multi-million pound US aerospace market. The Government has provided a grant of £70,000 to support the scheme.

United Avionics has been set up under the Department of Trade and Industry’s Partnership Marketing Initiative. It aims to give small and medium companies the chance to pool their resources, expertise and contacts to overcome the problem of marketing their products in the US.

It is projected that in year five sales achieved via United Avionics will be more than £12.5m.

Tony Oldfield, chairman of United Avionics, and director of Terrington Systems, said the DTI grant would contribute to the company’s first year running costs, including the employment of a US marketing executive for a minimum of three years.

United Avionics is made up of five small UK aerospace companies: Datel Defence of Preston Lancashire, a systems engineering and software company; Dedicated Microcomputers, of Pendlebury, Manchester, which makes airborne CCTV systems; Sensor Electronics of Beverley, Yorkshire, maker of portable security systems; TEC Electrical Components of Enfield, Middlesex, which produces electrical connectors and panel lighting systems; and Terrington Systems of York, Yorkshire, which manufactures airborne data recording and analysis systems.

Industry giant GEC-Marconi has also offered its support to the scheme. It will provide a US base for the joint-venture’s employees at its facility in Altanta, Georgia, as well as offering marketing advice on the US aerospace industry.

The Partnership Marketing Initiative was established in 1994 from an original idea by Vicker’s direc-tor and DTI secondee Russ Taylor.

United Avionics is the third such venture to be formed under the auspices of the scheme. The first was International Aerospace Alliance which represents three companies in the aerostructures sector; the second joint venture was Advanced Aerospace made up of five companies in the aeroengines sector.