Lockheed Martin adding THAAD facility

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 26, 2002

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The groundbreaking ceremony for Lockheed Martin’s new production site for the Theater High Altitude Defense missile program will be held on May 29.

The new program will mean more jobs for the community, however, it is unknown at this time how many people will be hired.

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There are currently 236 people employed at Lockheed Martin.

The ceremony is an invite-only affair and many big names in politics are expected to attend, such as Congressman Terry Everett, Rep. Allan Boothe, Jeff Sessions and Mayor Lunsford.

"I am proud to say that Alabama has turned the corner, and we are headed in the right direction. In the past two years we have built a new Alabama committed to education and good jobs," said Gov. Don Siegelman. "The decision by Lockheed Martin to produce the THAAD missile defense system in Troy is a tremendous win for Alabama. It means that more Alabamians will have the opportunity to benefit from high-skilled and high-paying jobs that will improve the quality of life for their families."

Gov. Siegelman will not be able to attend the ceremony.

The THAAD system will defend soldiers and local populations from enemy launched short and medium range theater ballistic missiles operating in the lower reaches of space and within the Earth’s atmosphere.

The final assembly and test site for the $3.8 billion weapon system will be built in two phases and is expected to be ready for production in 2007, according to the Lockheed Martin website.

The 2003 Defense Authorization Bill will also have its impact on Pike County as well as other southeast Alabama locations.

The bill designates some $300 million in weapons systems funding and military base construction.

"Down the road in Pike County, Lockheed Martin workers are in line to partially assemble new Hellfire II, JASSM, and Javelin missiles worth a total $103 million," said Terry Everett, R-Enterprise.

Javelin missiles is the "world’s premier shoulder-fired anti-armor system." Javelin, which weighs 21.6 lbs., automatically guides itself to the target after launch allowing the gunner to take cover and avoid counterfire.

Hellfire II is a missile system that defeats advanced armor and points targets in the presence of severe electro-optical countermeasures. Hellfire, which weighs 100 lbs., can be launched from multiple platforms and engages multiple targets simultaneously.

The Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) is an autonomous, long-range, conventional, air-to-ground, precision standoff missile for the U.S. Air Force and Navy. JASSM, which weighs 2,250 lbs., can be launched from a number of fighter and bomber aircraft.

The Defense Bill provides for $80 million in Hellfire missile construction for Army, Navy and Marines, $13.1 million in Javelin anti-tank missile construction for Army and Marines, and $10 million for JASSM construction for Navy and Air Force.