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Thu, May 13, 2010

Apache Helicopter Block III Rotor Components Contract Awarded To Aerojet

Company Continues Its Expansion Into Commercial Specialties Market

Precision-machined tungsten heavy alloy weights, which perform a critical function in establishing aeromechanical stability of a helicopter's rotor blades, will be supplied by Aerojet for the new Composite Main Rotor Blade (CMRB) developed by Boeing for the AH-64D Apache Block III (AB3) program.

The company announced Monday that under the initial contract, it will deliver completed rotor weights to support Boeing's production of the U.S. Army's low rate initial production requirements for AB3 (approximately 43 aircraft) in 2010. Completed deliveries are anticipated by 2012. In an effort to enhance battle support effectiveness and reduce operational and support costs, the Army intends to procure or upgrade more than 600 aircraft by 2025. Several hundred more Apaches are also candidates for the upgrade and there are current plans for more than 100 additional new build airframes in the near future.

"The CMRB is a vitally important piece of the overall capability that Block III Apache will bring to the warfighter," said Colonel Shane Openshaw, project manager, Apache Attack Helicopter. "Simply put, CMRB improves aircraft performance, improves overall aircraft readiness, reduces life-cycle costs and reduces pilot workload."

"(T)his award demonstrates the significant value Aerojet is delivering through its expansion into commercial specialty metals markets," said Dick Bregard, Aerojet's Vice President of Defense Systems.

Aerojet says it was able to offer these components at significant cost savings over conventionally processed materials. Through Aerojet's efforts, Boeing has also specified the material to a more rigorous industry standard, ensuring a higher level of quality and performance. These improvements are made possible by the incorporation of Aerojet's proprietary near-net shape technology, which is derived from the company's high-performance ordnance manufacturing process. This cost-effective technology was originally developed to manufacture kinetic energy penetrators for M1 tanks, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, Phalanx CIWS and infantry in the field. All work will be performed at Aerojet's Specialty Metals facility in Jonesborough, TN, and will be completed by Dec. 2010.

FMI: www.aerojet.com

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