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Raytheon Picks Alabama for $75-million Missile Plant

Raytheon Missile Systems has announced it will build a new $75-million missile factory in Huntsville, AL. The plant will be used for final assembly and testing of Standard Missile-3 Block IB, a sea-based missile interceptor, and the Standard Missile-6, an advanced ship-defense weapon, the Tucson, AZ-based company said.

The Alabama site will employ an estimated 300 workers at an annual average wage of $60,000. Several Raytheon divisions already employ about 600 people in the Huntsville area. Raytheon said it expects to break ground on the 200-acre Huntsville plant site later this year and build it in two phases over three years. Initial production is planned to begin in January 2013.

Workers at the new, 70,000-square-foot plant – on the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal site and close to major NASA and U.S. Missile Defense Agency facilities – will perform SM-3 and SM-6 final assembly, integration, testing and life-cycle support, or ongoing maintenance. Section-level assembly, integration and testing for the missiles will remain at the Tucson and supplier sites, the company said.

The agreement to build the plant was announced by company officials, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby and Gov. Bob Riley at the Farnborough International Air Show in England.

Alabama offers job training and a variety of tax breaks to companies building new facilities in the state, including abatement of sales taxes on construction and income-tax credits for capital costs of qualifying projects.

Raytheon said Huntsville was picked over finalists Tucson and Camden, AR, where the company also has facilities. In a prepared statement, Raytheon said the company “conducted a rigorous site selection process for 18 months, investigating more than 80 locations.”

In a statement on its website, the company said was unable to build the missile plant within Raytheon’s current Standard Missile final assembly compound at Tucson International Airport because of explosive facility siting regulations covering airports adjacent to industrial or residential areas.

“Raytheon continues to have a long-term, strategic commitment to Tucson,” the company said.

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