Aerospace giant Boeing opened its Alabama Research & Technology Center in Huntsville in June 2015, building on its long-standing presence in the Rocket City. (Boeing)
Boeing is a key success story for Alabama’s aerospace and defense sector, comprising more than 400 companies and more than 83,000 jobs.
The state’s economic development team, looking to build on those numbers, is courting prospects this week at the Farnborough International Airshow. The mission is being led by Gov. Robert Bentley, who will meet with Boeing officials on site.
Defense and space
Strategic Missile & Defense Systems is a core business area for Boeing in Alabama, as are Space Exploration and the Space Launch System (SLS), NASA’s most powerful rocket.
The company was responsible for the design, development, construction and integration of the International Space Station and now supports ongoing research done aboard the world’s largest on-orbit lab.
In other NASA projects, Boeing is working toward the first flight of SLS in 2018, an important step on the journey to Mars.
Vertical Lift Sustainment is another main business area for Boeing in Alabama, with operations that support Apache and Chinook helicopters and other military aircraft.
Meanwhile, the Boeing Research and Technology Center, which opened a year ago in Huntsville, is a hub for the company’s technology development.
In June, Boeing held a groundbreaking to mark the expansion of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Seeker facility in Huntsville. The 28,000-square-foot facility will include machinery and other capabilities to support the missile defense program for the U.S. Army.
To date, Boeing has delivered more than 2,700 PAC-3 missile seekers, and the expansion will increase production and add about 70 jobs.
“Today’s event is another example in a long line of milestones that demonstrate Boeing and its industry partners’ commitment to this community, our state and to the U.S. Army,” Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey said at the groundbreaking. “It is a clear indication that you are developing innovative technology and real-life solutions for your military customers.”
In other recent developments tied to its Alabama operations, Boeing executed a successful flight test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system at the beginning of the year. GMD is designed to detect, intercept and destroy long-range ballistic missiles.