Lockheed Martin will add jobs after landing $4.9 billion German missile defense deal
By MARK WEINER | Syracuse Media Group, N.Y. | Published: March 10, 2018
WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) — Lockheed Martin said Friday it will likely add a significant number of jobs to its plant in suburban Syracuse after reaching a deal on a joint venture to supply Germany with an air and missile defense system worth about $4.9 billion.
The Lockheed plant at Electronics Park in Salina will engineer and manufacture the surveillance radar for the Medium Extended Air Defense System, or MEADS, that Germany plans to deploy over the next 15 years.
Lockheed Martin and European defense firm MBDA Deutschland announced a new joint venture this week that will produce the new air and missile defense system for Germany.
The German system, TLVS, will incorporate MEADS, developed in partnership by the United States, Germany and Italy, into new defenses that will replace Germany's aging Patriot missile defense system.
Initial plans call for Germany to buy a minimum of eight new systems to replace 12 Patriot units, but details must still be negotiated in a contract expected to be signed by the end of the year, Lockheed Martin officials said.
Germany set aside about $4.9 billion for the program after deciding in 2015 to proceed with MEADS, rather than Raytheon's Patriot system, for its future air and missile defense.
Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Cheryl Amerine said Friday she could not provide an estimate on the number of new jobs that will be linked to the program at Lockheed Martin's plant in Salina until the final contract is negotiated.
But she said the Salina plant is expected to have a "significant workshare" on a surveillance radar that is engineered, developed and manufactured at the Electronics Park complex. The local plant employs about 1,600 people.
Amerine said demand for the MEADS radar is expected to grow as other NATO allies modernize their air and missile defenses.
"Right now, we are only talking about the German contract," Amerine said. "With Germany as the launch customer for this system, we anticipate that other countries will want this needed capability in the future as well."
MEADS provided the single largest radar contract in the history of Lockheed's plant in Salina. The plant received a $625 million share of MEADS development work over nine years.
All told, the United States, Germany and Italy invested more than $4 billion developing the system over the course of more than a decade.
A key component of the system is the MEADS surveillance radar developed by Lockheed in Salina. The radar can search 360-degrees for incoming missiles, planes and drones, and be hauled around on the back of a truck.
Germany's selection of MEADS is significant because it will be the first nation to deploy the missile defense system. Germany is also NATO's lead country for missile defense and helps influence how allies upgrade their defenses.
The United States decided not to fully deploy MEADS after initial development delays and cost overruns. But Army officials have said they would like to use some parts of the anti-missile system in future defense programs.
As part of Lockheed's joint venture with MBDA, work on the German system will be led from an office in Schrobenhausen, Germany. The companies said related operations in the United States will be based in Syracuse, Dallas and Huntsville, Ala.
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