RALEIGH, N.C. – Smiths Aerospace is adding 200 jobs and will spend $16 million to expand its manufacturing capacity in Asheville over the next three years, Gov. Mike Easley announced on Monday.

The firm received a $400,000 One North Carolina Fund grant as part of an industrial recruitment incentive package. Such grants require at least a match from local governments and other agencies.

The expansion is the second in the area for Smiths Aerospace in the past 18 months. In October of 2005 the company said it would build a 128,000 square foot engine components plant in West Jefferson.

In January, General Electric agreed to purchase Smiths Aerospace from its parent firm Smiths Group plc for $4.8 billion.

“Smiths’ decision to expand in Buncombe County enhances our position as a world leader in the aerospace industry,” Easley said in a statement. “When world-renowned companies such as Smiths Aerospace locate and grow here, it reinforces North Carolina’s reputation as First in Flight, which was established by Wright Brothers more than a century ago.”

Smiths Aerospace, a $2 billion a year international company, manufactures and supplies aircraft electronics, mechanical systems and engine components. The company, which is based in London, already employs 387 people and has facilities in Asheville and nearby West Jefferson. It employs some 10,000 people worldwide.

The firm will build a 90,000 square foot manufacturing facility as part of the expansion.

The jobs are expected to pay an average weekly wage of $620 plus benefits.

“We are pleased to grow our business in North Carolina for the second time in 18 months based upon a skilled and competitive work force with excellent community college training programs,” said Dale Collins, general manager of Smiths Aerospace Components in Asheville and West Jefferson. “This new facility will be adjacent to our existing site in Asheville and provides for the consistent flow of processes and best practices between the two operations.”

Also participating in the recruitment process were the N.C. Department of Commerce, the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and the Economic Development Coalition of Asheville-Buncombe County