Lockheed expands: Lockheed Martin’s Pike County facility holds ribbon cutting for annex
Published 3:00 am Thursday, August 13, 2015
Lockheed Martin’s Pike County Operations celebrated the opening of its cruise missile annex Wednesday. The facility adds 62,000 square feet to the 92,000-square-foot Long Range Strike Systems cruise missile manufacturing facility.
Site Director David Anderson said the completion of the cruise missile annex would represent the “first fruits” of Lockheed Martin’s partnership with the State of Alabama to promote long-term growth in Pike County. Earlier in the year, in conjunction with Gov. Robert Bentley’s office, Lockheed’s Pike County Operations facility committed to adding 240 jobs to its existing 370 jobs by 2020.
“So far in 2015, we have hired over 75 employees to fill high-tech positions at our Pike County facility, 20 of whom support cruise missile final assembly,” Anderson said. “This growth is a result of new business our state partners helped us bring to Alabama.”
Lockheed Martin spent approximately $16.8 million to build the annex and a greater amount of money to furnish the building. Anderson said the Pike County site would begin to see a return on the investments as early as October, meaning the upcoming fiscal year will be impacted greatly by the operations.
“We’re going to start working and moving people in there,” Anderson said. “We’re going to secure the facility, open the doors up and start working in that area as soon as possible. So within the next week or so I anticipate having people working in there. It’s a lengthy process… but our plan is to start yielding product out of there in October. It gives us a lot of capability.”
Director for the Strike Systems Alan Jackson said a large segment of the cruise missile production was at the Pike County Operations facility, and that the company is excited to see the program continue to expand, develop and adapt to the ever-changing needs of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and international partners.
“Dave and his team here at Troy built the very first missile and will continue to build those missiles during the life of the program in which we’re now into our eleventh production lot,” Jackson said. “Our customers procure missile in annual increments, depending on what their defense budget is, and we are under contract for our twelfth lot already. We’re looking forward to providing for the warfighters for year’s to come.”
Jackson said Lockheed had supplied the Air Force with 1,700 rounds so far and is committed to 4,900 rounds.
Anderson explained that while the facility is kept under high security, the operations site continuously gives back to the Pike County and Troy community.
“We’re well ahead of our plans for employment,” Anderson said. “We had a strategic plan laid out and we have other programs that we build here, too, that have driven those employment rates up. Demand was originally not there when we proposed this and began working with the state of Alabama on an economic development package. But, it’s improved … The forecast has changed and its gotten better for this site dramatically.”
But, Anderson said the development wasn’t a one-way street.
“The community is very good to us,” he said, citing the community and state governments as well as the Pike County Economic Development Corp. “We’re always trying to work strategic things to improve the site and make us more marketable. Mayor Reeves goes out of his way to help us out. We’ll come up with an idea to get a product line or do something different, and he’s right there with us. He wants to support that and he’ll work a plan for us.”