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Lockheed competes for new contract

Lockheed Martin announced plans Tuesday to assemble its small diameter bomb at its Pike County location if it wins an Air Force contract, a move that will create additional jobs.

"A successful win of this project would result in additional jobs at Lockheed Martin Pike County Operations," said Randy Stevenson, plant manager.

That bid award is expected to come this fall, according to a Lockheed-Martin statement.

"To win this program would be an economic advantage to the company as well as the community,

It will allow us to continue our growth and continue to provide quality high tech jobs to the members of this community,' Stevenson said.

For the Troy facility, the announcement also demonstrates the plant's record of excellence.

"We're recognized as a strike weapons center of excellenceWe've earned a world-class reputation," he said.

In 2002, Pike County Operations, received the internationally renowned Shingo Prize for Excellence in manufacturing and was named winner of the Alabama Manufacturer of the Year Award. Both designations recognized high standards and expert use of lean principles in core manufacturing.

Recognized throughout its Corporation as the Lockheed Martin "Strike Weapons Center of Excellence," Pike County Operations is a manufacturing and final assembly plant for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

"We look forward to adding SDB to our production lines here at Troy," Stevenson said.. "We have the expertise to turn out systems to meet the Air Force's requirement and will use experienced personnel from other programs to form the nucleus of our SDB assembly team," Stevenson said.

The facility will receive

component parts from subcontractors and perform weapon final assembly. Assembly lines and equipment for specific tasks in the process are being identified.

A building on the plant site is currently being converted to handle the new GPS-guided glide bombs, but final "facilitization," as the company calls it, won't take place until the contract is awarded.

Lockheed Martin's Pike County Operations has been successful in securing projects in the past.

Last year, the Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile contract was awarded to the plant, which plans to expand its facilities here and add more than 500 jobs over the next several years.

Currently, Lockheed Martin's Pike County Operations supports seven production programs: Javelin, Longbow, Hellfire and Predator in the Anti-Armor Missile mission area; and the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) and AGM-142 missile programs in the strike weapons mission area.

During the SDB program's

component advanced development

phase, Lockheed Martin successfully completed several significant tests including

first-to-fly tests in December, January and February. Successes include four instrumented measurement vehicle unit captive carry tests on the F-15E, IMV Safety of Flight and Pre-flight Certification Tests, a warhead sled test, and fit checks on the F-15E, F/A-22, B-52, F-16, A-10, and F-117 aircraft.

Weighing 250 pounds, the SDB will be considerably smaller than other precision-guided munitions, thus increasing the number of weapons a given platform can hold and decreasing the risk of collateral damage. Because of

its potential for lean, precise strike, Air Force and industry officials consider the weapon to be an important element of the Global Strike Task Force concept.

Threshold platforms for the SDB are the F-15E Strike Eagle and the B-1 bomber. Additionally, the program has received a great deal of attention because of its eventual integration onto the F-22 and Joint Strike Fighter.

Over the life of the program, officials expect to buy a minimum of 24,000 bombs with the final numbers to be determined, according to the company.

"We have developed the technology (the Air Force) is looking to procure and we believe we can provide that at a reasonable price that will meet the threat level they have need to meet," Stevenson said. "Now it's a matter of us finalizing the performance criteria and we're confident we can do that to successfully win the project."