A local firm and a Chinese company have reached a deal to open a Lawrence manufacturing plant to build propellers that will power everything from drones to airboats to experimental aircraft.

Lawrence-based DARcorporation and China-based Sterna Composite Aircraft Inc. have agreed to a joint venture that is expected to create 10 new Lawrence manufacturing jobs by the end of the year, but perhaps dozens more in future years.

Sterna currently has a Chinese manufacturing plant that produces composite propellers for the aviation industry. Sterna, however, wants to sell more products in the U.S.

“They really want to target the U.S. market, and they have found that it is better to be able to say “built in America,’” said Willem Anemaat, president of DARcorporation.

DARcorporation has done design and consulting work for Sterna on several projects over the last six years, Anemaat said. Anemaat approached Sterna about considering Lawrence for the company’s U.S. operations.

Sterna officials visited Lawrence last week, and the two companies agreed to join forces to create a new venture that will operate under the name Sterna Composite Aircraft USA.

Anemaat said the new company hasn’t settled on a Lawrence location to house the manufacturing facility. He said the company has begun looking for a 10,000 square-foot space that would be ready to begin production by early 2018.

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