Boeing expands Alabama PAC-3 missile seeker facility

Boeing expands Alabama PAC-3 missile seeker facility
Gov. Kay Ivey, center, joined Boeing and local officials for the ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of Boeing's expansion project in Huntsville. (contributed)

Aerospace and defense leader Boeing marked the completion of a major expansion at its Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile seeker facility in Alabama’s “Rocket City.”

Boeing officials joined military leaders, Gov. Kay Ivey and local officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 28,000-square-foot facility at 499 Boeing Blvd. in Huntsville. The expansion will enhance the company’s ability to produce, upgrade and sustain the PAC-3 missile seeker program.

Boeing is adding 70 employees to its Alabama workforce as part of the project.

“This is a proud moment for Boeing,” Jim Chilton, a Boeing senior vice president, said at the event.

Boeing’s Alabama-made seekers provide active data to the PAC-3 missile, which enables it to acquire, intercept and destroy enemy ballistic and cruise missiles as well as hostile aircraft using hit-to-kill technology.

Boeing invested $45 million to expand the Huntsville PAC-3 missile seeker production line in 2011. In June 2017, the company produced its 3,000th seeker at the Alabama location.

The missile seekers made in Huntsville are delivered to PAC-3 prime contractor Lockheed Martin. The PAC-3 missile system is deployed with U.S. Army and Army National Guard air defense units, and it has been purchased by several international customers.

Work on the new facility in Huntsville began in June 2016.

Boeing produces seekers that allow the PAC-3 missile to target enemy missiles and aircraft. (Boeing)

Boeing impact

Since arriving in Huntsville in 1962, Boeing has played a key role in building the nation’s defense and space programs in Alabama. It has long ranked as the state’s largest aerospace company, with more than 2,700 employees at two main facilities in Huntsville.

“Boeing has been doing business in Alabama for more than 50 years,” Ivey said at the event. “A long time ago, Boeing found that Alabama is a good place to do business, especially in aerospace and defense.”

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle both said the work being done by Boeing keeps the U.S. safe and protects the lives of soldiers deployed overseas.

Core business areas for Boeing in Alabama include missile and weapon systems, the Space Launch System (SLS), an aerospace design center, and a research and technology center.

“Boeing’s continued growth in Alabama is a testament to the company’s strategic vision, as well as the skillful execution by its extremely talented workforce in the state,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Boeing’s innovative work in Alabama is critical to our nation’s defense and space programs, and the company has helped the state build a significant presence in an industry with a solid future.”

Boeing’s financial impact on Alabama has been measured at $2.3 billion annually.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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