Sessions tours missile plants

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 2, 2002

Features Editor

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R – Ala.,

toured the Lockheed Martin Pike County Operations plant on Monday and viewed three production lines of missiles that are built, assembled and tested at the facility.

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Sessions, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee,

called the Pike County Operations plant "one of the most important plants in America."

He said weapons being produced there are, and will be, used in combat and in defense of the homefront.

Although the United States has the ships, airplanes and trained soldiers for today’s warfare, the senator said it does not have the necessary munitions.

"We have got to have the bullets," he said. "That is why this facility is so important. It is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, defense company in the world. This facility produces the highly sophisticated weapons that are carrying on the war in Afghanistan."

The senator toured the production lines of the Javelin shoulder-fired missile, the AGM-142 air-to-ground missile and the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM).

He said he was impressed by professionalism of the facility’s employees and their commitment to excellence.



Pike County Operations is a recipient of the coveted 2002 Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing. It has also received the Industry Week magazine’s Top Ten America’s Best Plant Award, the Alabama Quality Award and the Alabama Team Showcase Award.

"I am extremely proud of this facility and its employees," Sessions said. "The things people are seeing on television involve weapons systems made here. These sophisticated,

precision weapons systems are necessary for prolonged combat situations with a lot of targets and they will get more sophisticated in the future."

The senator said the United States military has been very forward thinking but must maintain its technical lead so that its men and women are not put at great risk in combat.

Sessions said much of the military’s combat success is because soldiers on the ground are able to direct powerful weapons within a yard of their target.

He said strong defense systems are crucial and he strongly supports expenditures for national defense.

He commended Lockheed Martin on its plans to expand the Pike County Operations facility and called plans for the $11 million expenditure, "good news."

The facility currently employs 250 people and will increase that number by 100 with the expansion.

The success of the facility will, Sessions said, facilitate future expansions and also be helpful to the state in negotiating with other high-tech companies seeking to locate.