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|Type||Società per azioni|
|Industry||aeronautical, defence, space, marine, electronics, energy|
|Founded||1908 in Turin, Italy|
|Headquarters||Rivalta di Turin, Italy|
|Products||components and modules for aircraft and helicopter engines, space propulsion and launch vehicles, MRO and services for aircraft engines and aeroderivative gas turbines, electronic and electrical systems|
|Revenue||€1, 753 million (2010)|
Avio S.p.A. is an Italian company operating in the aerospace sector with its head office in Rivalta di Torino, Turin, Italy. Founded in 1908, it is present in Italy and abroad with different commercial offices and 10 production sites. Avio operates in 5 main business areas in both the civil and military sectors:
- modules and components for aircraft and helicopter propulsion systems
- solid-propellant motors for space and tactical propulsion
- MRO and services
- aeroderivative gas turbines for marine and industrial applications
- electronic/electrical control and automation systems
Moreover, Avio is Prime Contractor for the new European launcher Vega.
The company is very active in the field of technological research. It carries out projects in collaboration with 14 among Italian universities and research centres and 10 foreign, aimed at the continuous improvement of product and process technologies. It also undertakes the research of solutions in order to reduce the environmental impact of aircraft engines, in conformity with the objectives of consumption and emissions reduction dictated, within the European area, by the ACARE body.
The first years of 1900
In 1908, aeronautical production started taking its first steps in Turin, Italy. At that time Fiat made the decision to design and produce an airplane engine, the SA 8/75, derived from racing cars. It was the beginning of a centennial story whose heritage is today linked directly to Avio. The first mass-produced engine produced by Fiat was the A10. 1,070 units were created between 1914 and 1915: at this point the pioneer age had come to an end and the company decided to design and construct complete aircraft. Thus in 1916 the Società Italiana Aviazione was founded, changing its name in 1918 to Fiat Aviazione.
In Turin, besides aircraft engines, and always along the lines of the internal-combustion engine, Fiat diversified production with the construction in 1909 of Fiat San Giorgio for marine diesel engines, the area from which activities in the field of industrial engines for electric power generation later ensued. In Colleferro (Rome), the Bombrini Parodi-Delfino-BPD Company, established in Genoa in 1912, started manufacturing explosives and chemical products, from which the space segment originated.
In the aeronautical field, roots grew in Brindisi with the SACA Company. Gradually, many other realities began such as the CMASA di Marina Company in Pisa, founded in 1921 by German design engineer Claude Dornier, in collaboration with Rinaldo Piaggio and Attilio Odero. Finally, interactions and exchanges, accumulation of skills and experience, and multi-faceted stimuli have come from the many varied forms of international collaboration that have taken place with major companies like General Electric, Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney and Eurocopter, just to mention a few of the most important names with whom current partnerships go back over half a century.
From large engines to turbines
In Avio’s history worthy of mention is their presence in the development and manufacture of engines for the production of electric energy, coming from the experience gained in the sector of large engines for ships.
Fiat started the study of marine engines in 1903. Beginning from 1926, with the inspiration of the engineer Giovanni Chiesa, the manufacture started up of engines with cylinders of 750mm diameter, the maximum permitted by technologies of the time, which increased engine power up to 4,500HP. In 1971, production began on large diesel engines in Trieste, in a new factory established through a collaboration agreement with the state company IRI (Institute for Industrial Reconstruction).
Starting from the 1930s, a strategy of diversification, which derived from engines produced for ships and submarines, led to the entry into the field of railway diesel engines, while the first engines for the production of electric energy for industrial use had already been experimented in the early post-war period. However, in this segment, the most important innovation came with new technological approaches; the development of a gas turbine was started up through a collaboration agreement stipulated with Westinghouse in 1954. The experience progressively acquired in this field, combined with the more extensive availability of methane gas, enabled the development and manufacture of several electric power generation plants in Italy and abroad.
The success of this new technology brought about the decision to leave the segment of large diesel engines in order to concentrate on gas turbines. In 1973, Fiat thus set up the company Turbomeccanica Turbogas (TTG), in which all efforts were concentrated on the Turin Company’s activities in the energy sector. In 1986, Fiat Aviazione incorporated TTG, and developed the activities until 2001, when it was made over to Siemens, shifting the marine and industrial activities to Avio’s development of aeroderivative turbines.
From explosives to propellants
The entrepreneurial initiative of the engineer Leopoldo Parodi – Delfino, supported by Senator Giovanni Bombrini, and the resolution of the State to provide the country with an independent production capacity in the chemical field, led to the establishment of the BPD industrial plants just 50 km from Rome, along the railway line for Cassino.
Situated in a poor region of Roman countryside, the town of Colleferro was born around the industrial site; elevated to a municipal district in 1935 by Royal Decree. The town grew hand in hand with the production activities of BPD that, from explosives, progressively extended to several chemical products derived for agricultural and industrial uses. The production plants developed and expanded attracting labour, and the Company provided for a vast complex of social works.
In 1927, thanks to the management’s close attention to research and production diversification, the BPD Test Centre started to experiment on the first rockets powered by chemical powder. After the Second World War, on the initiative of Francesco Serra di Cassano, son-in-law and successor to BPD’s founder, mechanical production, already started up in the 1930s for munitions activities, was developed and expanded. Moreover, the Test Centre intensified experimentation on propellants, beginning with the launching of multi-stage sounding rockets for research in the upper atmosphere, produced at the Salto di Quirra military firing range in Sardinia, in the early 1960s.
In 1966, BPD benefited from its success in the new propellants by entering into a contract with ELDO (forerunner of the European Space Agency – ESA) for the development and production of the apogee boost motor of the ELDO-PAS telecommunications satellite. This first experience, which was completely positive, then translated into a rapid development of the activities in the field of solid-propellant motors.
In 1968, the SNIA Viscosa Company took over BPD, which became SNIA-BPD. In 1975, under this company configuration, ESA initially gave the BPD branch of SNIA the task of developing and producing the separation motors of the European Ariane satellite launcher, and later on in 1984, the contract for the manufacture of the Ariane 5 boosters. The Ariane take-off motors have been completed now for over twenty years at the launch site in French Guyana, under the subsidiary companies Europropulsion and Regulus, set up in 1988.
In 1990, SNIA sold the BPD branch to the Gilardini Company, which in turn, was bought by Fiat Aviazione in 1994. In the meanwhile from 1989 Fiat Aviazione became FiatAvio S.p.A.
took on the role of Italian prime contractor for the NATO F104 G aircraft With the name change of the Fiat Aviazione to Fiat Avio in 1989, the Turin Company collaborated on the design and manufacture of propulsion systems for the Tornado and Harrier Jump Jet (vertical/short take-off and landing) in the military sector, and Boeing and Airbus in the commercial one, just to mention the most important cases in both military and commercial fields.
In 1997, the acquisition of the controlling stake in Alfa Romeo Avio from Finmeccanica was key to a national strategic project aimed at reducing the excessive fragmentation of the Italian companies and at increasing competitiveness through more systematic synergies.
From 2000 to today
Avio was thus able to set out on the road of increasing internationalisation, taking its place among the leading players worldwide in the field of design, development and manufacture of components and modules for aerospace propulsion. After the setting up of AvioPolska in 2001, the creation of DutchAero followed in 2005, with the acquisition of Phillips Aerospace. .
In 2003, the Fiat Group, grappling with the crisis in the automobile sector, sold Fiat Avio S.p.A. to a consortium formed by American private equity fund, the Carlyle Group (70%), and Finmeccanica S.p.A. (30%), who won against competition from French company Snecma. At the time, Fiat Avio was valued at €1.5 billion, and changed its corporate name to Avio S.p.A.
Production and activities
The company has different commercial offices and 10 industrial production sites  around the world, with about 5,200 employees of which 4,500 work in Italy. The sectors of activities are:
- design, development and production of modules and components for aircraft and helicopter propulsion systems. Avio is the Italian champion for military aeroengines and leader worldwide as regards mechanical transmissions;
- design, development and production of solid-propellant space propulsion motors and tactical propulsion systems. Avio is also Prime Contractor for the new European launcher Vega;
- aeroengine MRO and management services for aircraft and helicopter propulsion systems;
- design, development and construction of aeroderivative gas turbines for marine and industrial applications, as well as for the production of electric energy;
- production of control and automation systems, and electronic/electrical systems destined for the aerospace, marine, energy and defence sectors.
In 2009, Avio’s turnover was €1,702 million.
- GE90, partner to General Electric.
- GEnx, partner to General Electric.
- T700, subcontracting to General Electric.
- CFM56, subcontracting to General Electric.
- Trent 900, subcontracting to Rolls-Royce.
- PW150, subcontracting to Pratt & Whitney Canada.
- PW308, subcontracting to Pratt & Whitney Canada.
- PW625, subcontracting to Pratt & Whitney Canada.
- PW800, subcontracting to Pratt & Whitney Canada.
- TP400,subcontracting to Rolls-Royce.
- Spey, subcontracting to Rolls-Royce.
- T700, subcontracting to General Electric.
- F119, subcontracting to Pratt & Whitney.
- RB199, as part of the Turbo-Union consortium.
- EJ200, as part of the Eurojet consortium.
- Auxiliary power units
- Ariane III (with SNECMA and SME)
- Ariane IV (with SNECMA and SME)
- Ariane V (with SNECMA and SME)
- LM2500, subcontracting to General Electric.
- LM2500 family, subcontracting to General Electric.
- LM6000, subcontracting to General Electric.
- LMS100, partner to General Electric.
- [Avio Group 2009 Consolidated Financial Statements]
- [La Storia futura - Stefano Musso Professor of History of Political Movements and Parties at the Faculty of Political Science, Turin University - 2008- AVIO S.p.A.]
- Avio Group 2009 Consolidated Financial Stetements