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Esterline Technologies Corporation - Profile

Racal Acoustics Limited has a long history of design, development and manufacture of audio ancillary equipment for the world's military markets. Based in Harrow in north-west London, the company employs approximately 180 staff and occupies a factory complex with a total ground area of 78,000 sq ft (>7000 m2 m). Turnover is circa £30million per annum of which 60% is exported through a number of routes to more than 80 countries.

Our pedigree can be traced back to 1910, during the pioneering days of radio communication, when S G Brown (as the company was then known) produced one of the very first headphones. From these origins, the company's knowledge base and product range have progressively expanded, through a period covering two world wars, to meet the growing demand for high technology equipment in the changing market place.

In 1978, as part of the Racal Group, the company was merged with Amplivox, a privately owned hearing aid company, adding complementary specialist expertise to our existing hearing protection, electro-acoustics and military communications capability. The synergy derived from this merger led to a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in audio engineering and earned the company a worldwide reputation for its quality and innovative new designs, with particular emphasis on environmental, durability and EMC considerations.

In June 2000, Thomson-CSF acquired Racal and in December 2000 renamed the group of companies Thales Defence Limited. Both companies, in their own right, were internationally renowned and their combined expertise created a formidable global leader in air and ground-based intercommunications, telephone systems and ancillaries for both the military and civil market sectors. In March 2004, Thales announced the sale of the Acoustics Division to J.F Lehman and Company, which resulted in the reforming of Racal Acoustics. Following very successful sales growth and profit, the company ownership again changed when ECI Partners, the UK mid-market acquisition specialist, backed a management buy-out in July 2005. In December of 2008, Racal Acoustics was acquired by Esterline Corporation and became part of its Communications Systems platform.

Over the past five years, Racal Acoustics has undergone significant business process engineering to reflect the shifts and trends in the military market. This included the overhaul of manufacturing and supply chain activities, the establishment of marketing and product management roles, the integration of ‘lean manufacturing’ techniques and a culture of continual improvement, all of which the company believes are necessary for success in the modern military marketplace.

The group currently comprises:

  • Racal Acoustics Ltd, headquartered in Harrow, north-west London, England, where the company manages its global business supported by engineering, production, sales and marketing and administrative staff.

  • Racal Acoustics, Inc., with offices in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA, providing sales and administrative support to our North American business. Since late 2007, this facility has provided prototyping, variant assembly and repair and test capability for the North American market.


Racal Acoustics certifications Include:

  • ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management Approval

  • ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management Approval

  • CAA Maintenance Approval (EASA Part 145)

  • CAA Production Approval (EASA Part 21/G)


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