Gov. Kay Ivey welcomed plans by global defense contractor BAE Systems to launch a major expansion that will create a substantial number of jobs and add new capabilities at its operations in Huntsville.
In an announcement coinciding with the start of the Farnborough International Airshow near London, BAE Systems revealed the $45.5 million project to expand its operations in Alabama. The company said the expansion will create hundreds of jobs.
“BAE Systems’ decision to carry out this significant expansion project in Huntsville is a powerful testament to the expertise that makes Alabama’s ‘Rocket City’ an aerospace hub,” said Ivey, who is attending the air show with a state business development team.
“It’s great to see a world-class company like BAE Systems expand its presence — and create good jobs — in Alabama, where aerospace is continuing to take off,” she added.
BAE Systems said the multiphase growth plan includes the immediate expansion of its offices at Discovery Drive in Huntsville and the development of a state-of-the-art manufacturing and office space facility in the Cummings Research Park.
Work at the facility will consist of new programs and existing business, including the design, development and manufacturing of precision munitions and aircraft survivability technology.
The increased capacity will enable the company to execute on its commitments to customers while positioning it to address surging demand for key products.
“Our expansion in Huntsville provides us a great opportunity to establish a closer working relationship with our critical customers in the U.S. Army and the Redstone Arsenal community,” said Paul Markwardt, vice president and general manager of Survivability, Targeting and Sensing Solutions at BAE Systems.
“Huntsville is a good location to attract the key talent needed to develop and deliver important new capabilities to our customers.”
BAE Systems is working with Huntsville developer Samples Properties, Fuqua & Partners Architects and Pearce Construction to build its new 83,000-square-foot facility, which will include engineering development space, manufacturing space and Department of Defense lab space.
A 20-acre site for the building will provide expansion room for phased growth in the future.
Construction of the new building will begin this year and is expected to be complete in 2019.
“Huntsville’s expansive capabilities in the aerospace industry make it the ideal location for BAE Systems’ growth plans in the United States,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“There’s simply no better place to conduct the critical defense work that provides vital protection to our nation and our allies in unsettled times.”
BAE Systems is a global defense, aerospace and security company with more than 83,000 employees worldwide and operations in 30 U.S. states.
“Huntsville has once again proven itself to be the location of choice for companies looking to do cutting-edge R&D, engineering and manufacturing all in one location,” Mayor Tommy Battle said. “After our recent string of wins in advanced manufacturing, we made the strategic decision to renew our focus on Cummings Research Park and the knowledge-based jobs that have given Huntsville its positive reputation for innovation.
“BAE Systems is a company we have worked with for a number of years. They will develop new technologies to keep our soldiers and allies safe for decades to come. Huntsville is proud to play a key role in BAE Systems’ mission,” Battle added.
Chip Cherry, president and CEO of the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber, said project announcements like the one by BAE Systems are years in the making.
“We met with BAE senior leadership at the Farnborough Airshow in 2016 to discuss the advantages of being in Huntsville/Madison County,” Cherry said. “We are at the airshow again this year meeting with more companies about establishing and expanding their presence in Huntsville.”
This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.