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FARNBOROUGH, England -- Raytheon Company's Missile Systems announced July 19 at the Farnborough International Air Show in England its business plans to build an all-up-round Standard Missile state-of-the-art integration and testing facility on Redstone Arsenal.

Raytheon will use the facility for final assembly and testing of Standard Missile-3 and Standard Missile-6. SM-3 production is expected to increase substantially in the next 10 years, and SM-6 production is expected to begin in 2010.

"Raytheon's SM-3 is the centerpiece of the nation's new missile defense strategy, and SM-6 will give the U.S. Navy a new, much-needed weapon system," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president. "Combining SM-3 and SM-6 manufacturing into one facility will enable Raytheon to increase productivity and efficiency. The company will leverage state-of-the-art automation to enhance quality and safety, and deliver lower-cost products to the Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy customers."

The plan has not yet obtained Department of the Army approval, but Garrison officials do not anticipate any issues with obtaining the approval. Garrison officials are working on an environmental assessment and other required documents needed for Army approval.

The 70,000-square-foot production facility will be constructed in two phases; each phase will be tied to SM-3 and SM-6 production contracts. The potential 82-acre site is located in the same area as the old Thiokol missile production facility in the southern section of the Arsenal in the explosives area near Gate 3. Groundbreaking is expected later this year.

"This new Raytheon integration center means more jobs for Alabama and is a clear demonstration of Raytheon's strong partnership with the state," Gov. Bob Riley said. "Raytheon continues to be an important piece of Alabama's economic picture."

About 300 employees are expected to be employed by the facility's operations, with 85 of those on Redstone Arsenal and the others within the local community.

Other companies have been or are co-located with Army agencies on the Arsenal.

"We have a team-of-teams approach when it comes to supporting the mission, and we're always open to partnerships and leasing of land if it will provide greater support to our Soldiers," said Kim Henry, Aviation and Missile Command/Garrison Public Affairs chief.

SM-3 is being developed as part of the Missile Defense Agency's sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system. The missiles are deployed on Navy cruisers and destroyers and Japanese destroyers to defend against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats in the ascent and midcourse phases of flight.

SM-6 is an extended range anti-air warfare missile. Fired from Navy ships, SM-6 provides over-the-horizon capabilities against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles.

"The SM-3 is a vital component of our nation's missile defense strategy," U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby said. "I am proud of Alabama's continuing role in defending the U.S. and its allies."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16