79.8 F
Mobile
77 F
Huntsville
81 F
Birmingham
83.8 F
Montgomery

Strong joins Boeing for plant expansion – ‘They literally are saving lives’

Boeing held a ceremonial groundbreaking Monday for a $100 million plant expansion expected to increase production for a Patriot missile system component by some 30%.

The Patriot Missile system uses sophisticated technology to shoots down rockets, aircraft, and enemy incoming missiles. The Boeing-built Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) seeker provides guidance data to the PAC-3 interceptor used by the Patriot surface-to-air defense system, enabling it to identify, track and intercept advanced air and missile threats.

“The PAC-3 seeker is a critical air and missile defense capability, and this site expansion will allow us to significantly ramp up production to support the U.S. military, allies and international partners who rely on it,” said Debbie Barnett, vice president of Strategic Missile & Defense Systems. “Our proven seeker enables the life-saving precision accuracy of the Patriot system.

“I can’t overstate the importance of our team’s work in Huntsville and the mission we support.”

RELATED: Boeing awarded $1.6B contract for Minuteman Missile; Retains ICBM Guidance Systems into 2030s

Strong said he’s visited with American troops and allies who are protected by the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missile system.

“They literally are saving lives,” U.S. Rep. Dale Strong said. “The capabilities, and of course, the demand for the PAC-3 is an effective weapon. That’s why we need more to be produced and this is where to do it.”

(Boeing/Contributed)

Strong (R-Huntsville) said the relationship between Boeing and Alabama is, “not a new relationship. They understand the skill set we have here.”

“This is the best place in the nation for the aerospace and defense industry,” Strong said. “Thank you to Boeing and its employees for what you do here. Without the work you do here lives would be lost.”

RELATED: Rep. Dale Strong: Fighting for North Alabama

“The work we do right here on this campus in Huntsville, Alabama really matters – it really matters to a lot of people,” said Jim Bryan, the director of Integrated Air and Missile Defense programs at Boeing. “The PAC-3 Seeker is battle-tested and is designed to defend against a wide range of air and missile threats.

“It is not an overstatement to say that the Patriot missile saves lives. That is also why we have such a large contingent of veteran employees who, like myself, chose to continue to serve this country after our service in the armed forces.”

RELATED: GAO: Alabama 1st, Colorado 5th for Space Command HQ

Boeing said the $100 million expansion will increase the size of the plant from 60,000 square feet to more 90,000.

Since 2021, Boeing has been awarded more than $2 billion in contracts for seeker production, as well as to develop a next-generation seeker that is digitally-engineered to ensure effectiveness against evolving threats.

Boeing has worked as a subcontractor for Lockheed Martin on the Patriot for 20 years.

A number of state leaders were present at the groundbreaking. In addition to Strong, State Reps. Parker Moore (R-Hartselle) and Terry Collins (R-Decatur) were in attendance as was Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Madison County Commission Chairman Mac McCutcheon, Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, and Business Council of Alabama (BCA) Executive Vice President Clay Scofield.

RELATED: Could FBI’s Redstone ‘HQ2’ replace D.C. office?

Barnett announced that Boeing’s higher education initiatives include recently awarding $415,000 in grants for scholarships, maintaining technology labs and supporting workforce development programs at seven higher education institutions in Alabama.

The colleges receiving the grants are Alabama A&M University, Auburn University, Calhoun Community College, J.F. Drake State Technical College, Tuskegee University, the University of Alabama, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The Boeing plant expansion is expected to open in early 2027. It is projected to increase PAC-3 Seeker production at the Huntsville plant by 30%.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email [email protected]

Don’t miss out!  Subscribe today to have Alabama’s leading headlines delivered to your inbox.