Boeing holds ribbon-cutting for expansion of PAC-3 missile work in Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Boeing has built more than 3,000 PAC-3 missiles in Huntsville. Friday, the company held a ribbon-cutting to commemorate the expansion of its Pac-3 facility at its Huntsville plant.

Boeing says it is more than doubling production space for the PAC-3 interceptor and adding 70 jobs to a workforce on the project between 200 and 300 existing employees.

Gov. Kay Ivey was among the elected officials who expressed appreciation for Boeing during Friday’s ceremony

“You could have chosen to expand your firm anywhere in the United States, but thank you for choosing to expand right here in Huntsville,” Ivey said.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks said the PAC-3 is vital to national security of the U.S. and its allies.

“This advancement, this expansion, we need to emphasize what it’s truly all about,” Brooks said. It’s about saving the lives of Americans.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, who’s also running for governor, said the PAC-3 is currently deployed with Alabama-based troops

“Right now, today, we have the 115th Signal Battalion over in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and they’re being protected by the PAC-3 missiles that you’re making right here,” he said.

So what does the PAC-3 do? Boeing Senior Vice President Jim Chilton said it’s forward-deployed with a combat formation.

“There’s a radar, there’s a fire control system – a computer, and there’s interceptors in little trailers,” he said. “Think, ‘eyes, brain, fist.’ The radar is the eyes, says, ‘There’s something coming at me, approximately there.’ The brain in that computer says, ‘Shoot the interceptor, to get up in its way.’

“It’s got to be faster than the incoming, to beat it to where it’s going to be, and then the seeker, the front-end of that interceptor, says ‘What’s a good guy, what’s a bad guy,’ and tells the guidance system to go hit it.”

Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong said he wanted to thank Boeing’s employees.

“For not only understanding the objective, but for answering the call, when our country has called for national defense.”

The elected officials also pointed out Boeing has had a presence in Alabama for more than 50 years.