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Mike Mares of GH Systems, left, with Lockheed Martin Targets Countermeasures Program Chief Scientist John McCurry.
Daily photo by John Godbey
Mike Mares of GH Systems, left, with Lockheed Martin Targets Countermeasures Program Chief Scientist Jim McCurry.

Lockheed Martin adding buildings, may add 40 jobs

By Nancy Glasscock
nglasscock@decaturdaily.com 340-2443

COURTLAND — Lockheed Martin is poised to add five buildings that could bring up to 40 jobs to the area during the next several years, company officials said Monday.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and Lockheed Martin Courtland Operations hosted a ceremony announcing the Courtland facility's capability to assemble and integrate realistic targets for the Ballistic Missile Defense System.

The event was in the first of six buildings to be constructed specifically for the Targets and Countermeasures Program that provides targets designed to represent adversary missiles.

"This allows us to defend our nation better," said Maj. Gen. Chris T. Anzalone, deputy for Test, Integration and Fielding for the Missile Defense Agency. "This is a good day for missile defense, and it's a proud day for folks sitting in the audience."

The buildings, to be constructed at a total cost of about $20 million, will be used to assemble targets that will permit realistic testing of weapons systems and other elements of the Missile Defense Agency's Ballistic Missile Defense System, Lockheed Martin spokesman Lynn Fisher said.

"You need some way to test these systems and make sure they work," Jim Tevepaugh said. "We'll give our weapons system a workout to make sure we have the best weapons system possible."

As the Missile Defense Agency's prime contractor for targets and countermeasures, Lockheed Martin will deliver targets from Courtland to ranges around world to test Missile Defense System elements, company officials said.

Construction on the first building was finished last month, said Fisher. Company officials said they were unable to give a specific timetable for construction on the additional buildings.

"Any expansion is always good for the community," Courtland Mayor Ted Letson said.

U.S. Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, said addition of the new building is only a "snapshot" of the project.

"Missile defense has become an increasingly important part of our national defense," Aderholt said. "With this new capability, I believe Lockheed Martin will continue to be a leader in the field, benefiting not only Courtland, and north Alabama, but the nation as well."

Lockheed Martin has also selected Courtland as its assembly and integration site for the Multiple Kill Vehicle program. MKV work in Courtland will begin in about three years, company officials said.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 140,000 people worldwide. The corporation reported 2006 sales of $39.6 billion.

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