United Technologies Corp. [UTX] on Wednesday announced $15 billion in new investments across its companies and portfolios to bolster its digital strategy and increase its manufacturing capacity and efficiencies to keep pace with growth in the U.S. and worldwide.

Over five years investments will be made in research and development, accounting for $9 billion, aimed at accelerating the company’s digital strategy, and capital expenditures, $6 billion, which is going toward innovation in manufacturing. Smart factories and 3D manufacturing are among the areas UTC will be investing in, a company spokesman told Defense Daily.

UTC Chairman and CEO Gregory Hayes. Photo: UTC
UTC Chairman and CEO Gregory Hayes. Photo: UTC

The spokesman said that R&D investments in aerospace and defense will include “developing and improving connected aircraft systems and products that enable real-time health monitoring capabilities” that will benefit customers of its Pratt & Whitney aircraft division and UTC Aerospace Systems segments.

As part of the investment, UTC’s Pratt & Whitney aircraft engine division said it will be spending up to $100 million on expanding its aircraft engine facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., as well as new equipment for manufacturing, engineering, and the development of new technologies in support of its defense programs. The facility is used by the P&W in part to test its F-135 engine, which was developed for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and for work on adaptive manufacturing.

The investment in Florida will also support the creation of 215 jobs supporting defense programs, the company said.

In addition to the defense work, the Florida facility also produces the geared turbofan commercial engine.

“Our investments reflect our core belief that, similar to U.S. economic goals, United Technologies’ continued success will be dependent on a highly-skilled workforce, world class manufacturing facilities, and workforce education programs that enable employees to improve their skills and remain competitive in an increasingly digital economy,” Greg Hayes, UTC’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

UTC credited new U.S. tax law that went into effect at the start of this year for helping it to make the long-term investment inside the country. The law significantly lowered corporate taxes.

UTC’s businesses include elevators and escalators, climate and security controls, aircraft engines, and aerospace systems. The company believes these businesses are well positioned to take advantage of global megatrends around increased urbanization.

“We are excited about our significant employment opportunities and investments as more people globally have the buying power and desire to live in cities and to fly commercially, and the expectation of living and working in smart buildings that make modern life possible,” Hayes said.

UTC also said that it expects to hire 35,000 employees in the U.S. over the next five years. The company currently has 67,000 employees in the U.S.