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7,000 Per Year Missile Factory Ramps Up

A Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile comes together at Lockheed Martin’s Pike County Operations.

A Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile comes together at Lockheed Martin’s Pike County Operations.

A renewed partnership between Lockheed Martin and the state of Alabama should add 240 employees to the company’s Pike County Operations facility by 2020.

The announcement came as Lockheed broke ground in late February for its Long Range Strike Systems cruise missile production annex in Troy, where it has been producing a variety of missiles for 20 years.

The planned 62,000-square-foot annex will expand the existing 92,000-square-foot manufacturing facility where the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) is produced. The facility also produces test missiles for the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) development program. 

The state’s end of the deal, a planned $2.5 million state investment, will contribute to plant infrastructure improvements, such as the annex that supports continued employment base expansion. The incentives package is directly related to job-creation milestones.

The state didn’t give anything away, says Dave Anderson, Pike County site director for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “They’re hard bargainers, they really are,” he says, referring to Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield and his team. The negotiation took more than a year, Anderson says, before it was announced.

The Pike County 4,000-acre site produces a total of roughly 7,000 missiles a year in five varieties, from long range to close combat, he says. About 342 employees and 150 contractors report to work on a daily basis from 13 counties, and the average salary is $52,000 a year. An increase in U.S. and international orders for the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile was the impetus for the Pike County expansion, company officials have said. The corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, No. 21 on the 2014 World’s Most Powerful Women listing by Forbes, for her estimated $25 million a year role at the helm of the Maryland-based defense giant, holds two degrees from the University of Alabama.

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