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Lockheed Martin opens plant to test hypersonic weapons in Alabama

This illustration shows a possible Lockheed Martin hypersonic strike weapon. (Lockheed Martin/Released)
September 17, 2019

Lockheed Martin broke ground in Courtland, Ala., today on two buildings to build and test the new faster-than-sound weapons systems known as hypersonics.

The new facilities mean 72 jobs in Lawrence County, where Courtland is located, and 200 jobs in Huntsville, where the Lockheed program’s management and engineering functions will be located.

So-called “Hypersonic Strike capabilities” – weapons that can move faster than sound and interceptor systems that can block incoming hypersonic attacks – are “a critical capability” America must develop, national leaders say. Potential American adversaries such as China and Russia are actively pursuing hypersonics, they say, and America must top their efforts.

“I want our adversaries to be terrified by the hypersonic weapons they will soon face from the U.S. Army, the Navy, and the Air Force,” U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) said at the groundbreaking. “If our enemies are terrified, they will hesitate to start wars, and that of course, is exactly what we prefer. But if a war is started, the work being done by this civilian and military partnership in Alabama, as seen here today, will help us make it a short war, and one which ends on our terms.”

“On behalf of Lockheed Martin, we are honored to expand our presence in Northern Alabama and watch as the next cohort of innovators take advanced defense technology to levels we once thought were impossible,” said Scott Keller, vice president and general manager for Strategic and Missile Defense for Lockheed Martin.

Other dignitaries at the groundbreaking included U.S. Sen. Richard Shellby, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee; Gov. Kay Ivey and Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson.

“Both Courtland and Huntsville will gain new jobs, which is always welcome news,” Ivey said. “I am proud and confident that Alabamians will help advance Lockheed Martin’s goals as we begin working towards the advancements of the future.”

“Hypersonic technology complements all the great work happening on Redstone Arsenal at the Space and Missile Defense Command and Missile Defense Agency,” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said today. “With this announcement, Huntsville will once again be doing what we do best. Playing a leadership role in the engineering and development of the military’s future weapons systems.”

Lockheed Martin employs more than 2,000 people in Alabama already, according to state economic figures.


© 2019 Alabama Media Group