GE Targets T-Prop Market with Walter Buy

 - August 28, 2007, 12:22 PM

For many years, the one market segment that General Electric’s turbine engine-manufacturing business didn’t serve was aircraft that use smaller turboprop engines. But that is changing; GE announced yesterday that it is buying Czech engine manufacturer Walter Engines. Based in Prague, Walter has manufactured more than 37,000 aircraft engines since 1923. The company’s popular free-turbine M601 turboprop began deliveries in 1975 and has accumulated more than 16 million hours, with 16 versions currently in production providing from 724 to 777 shp for takeoff. Walter also builds parts under subcontract to engine manufacturers Rolls-Royce, Snecma and Turbomeca. The Walter purchase, said GE Aviation chief marketing officer Chet Fuller, is a logical step for GE’s core engine manufacturing business. “What we like about Walter is its longstanding legacy [and the fact that] the management and engineering team know how to make a great product. They’re a little resource-starved, but we can fix that.”