Lockheed Martin opened a new manufacturing plant for hypersonic missile systems in Courtland, Ala., describing it as “an advanced production facility” that capitalizes on “critical digital factory capabilities. The 65,000-sq.ft. plant expands on a defense manufacturing center that Lockheed has operated in northern Alabama since 1994, and the OEM will continue coordinating its work with the U.S. Dept. of Defense to develop “hypersonic strike capabilities.”
Lockheed has not indicated the cost of the new plant – one of four it will open this year. It is the second Conventional Prompt Strike production plant in Courtland, Ala., and incorporates robotic thermal-protection application capabilities, smart torque tools, mixed-reality capabilities for training and virtual inspections, and other “digital transformation advancements,” according to Lockheed.
Machines working at the new plant will connect to Lockheed’s Intelligent Factory Framework in early 2022, it said.
Hypersonic weapons are conceived as high-speed systems for combating high-value targets quickly from long distances, hundreds or even thousands of miles away. In May of this year Lockheed and Northrop Grumman conducted a live-fire hypersonic strike system test of the U.S. Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) and U.S. Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) programs.
The U.S. Navy and U.S. Army will use a common hypersonic missile, while developing individual weapon systems and launchers tailored to launch from sea or land.
"Hypersonic strike capabilities are critical to combat evolving threats, giving our warfighters the tools they need to complete complex missions," stated Jay Pitman, vice president of Air Dominance and Strike Weapons at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "The talented teams who work at these new advanced strike production facilities are delivering essential missile and hypersonic vehicle technologies in support of the U.S. National Defense Strategy."