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World’s third largest defense contractor plans $45 million expansion in Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala - The world's third largest defense contractor is expanding its presence in Huntsville. Monday BAE Systems announced it is building a new $45 million facility in the Rocket City. Leaders say it will create hundreds of jobs.

The new BAE Systems facility will be built on the corner of Old Madison Pike and Jan Davis Drive at the Cummings Research Park. The 20-acre plot of land will be used to construct an 84,000 square foot building, which means there will be plenty of room for expansion in the future.

The multi-story property is going to be part manufacturing and part office space. Work at the facility will consist of new programs and existing business, including design, development, and manufacturing of precision munitions and aircraft survivability technology.

BAE Solutions has a property on Discovery Drive but wants to expand to establish closer working relationships with their customers in this community.

"PEO Aviation and the project manager for Aircraft Survivability Equipment, a longstanding customer of ours as well as the Missile Defense Agency we make the seeker for THAAD missile ultimately for MDA," BAE System's Bill Saib said.

Staib is the Deputy VP General Manager of Survivable Targeting and Sensing Solutions within BAE Systems.

He says the company chose to expand in Huntsville for three reasons, to be close to customers, to deepen their roots in Huntsville and to use Huntsville's workforce talent pool...

"Is a very, very rich talent pool available here in the greater Huntsville area for the engineering and manufacturing skillsets that we need to deliver on our commitments," Staib said.

Job creation was celebrated at the official announcement at the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce.

"We're looking for a couple hundred new jobs to be created," Staib said.

"They've always had a small presence but by the end of the year they are going to have 40 people and by the end of a couple years, they'll have 200 working and as they said by the end of the decade they'll have 400 people," Mayor Tommy Battle said.

Battle says job creation has a ripple effect.

"Each of those new BAE Systems positions could produce 2 to 3 other jobs in the community.  The first phase of the project has already begun. The company is hiring 40 new employees and leasing additional space at their location on Discovery Drive.

Construction on the new facility will begin this year and is expected to be complete in January 2020. The company plans to hire an additional 200 employees when the new facility opens. It plans to have as many as 400 employees in the next decade.

BAE Systems currently has about 25 employees in Huntsville, but it has more than 380 employees in the state, primarily at two facilities in Anniston and Albertville.