Raytheon Cuts the Ribbon on Huge Missile-Making Plant

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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (WHNT) – Monday morning, national military and missile defense leaders celebrated a huge new facility on Redstone Arsenal where equipment that protects our country is assembled.

The new Raytheon plant puts men and robots working hand in hand in a 70,000-square-foot facility.

“This facility and this factory is fully automated,” said Dr. Taylor Lawrence, Raytheon’s Vice President.

Raytheon distributed footage of the inside to the plant, since it refused to allow any recording devices during guest tours of its new missile integration facility.

Top military, defense and political leaders from Alabama to Massachusetts, where Raytheon is based, turned out to see robots using lasers and software to move things around amidst an army of workers.

The company chose Redstone Arsenal over 70 other locations for the final touches to be put on its standard Missile-3 and SM-6 interceptors.

Officials call them affordable, efficient and responsive weapons.

They say this puts the Arsenal at the heart of the missile defense universe and puts the United States Navy comfortably ahead of enemies seeking to harm our nation and our allies.

“We live in a tough world.  It’s getting tougher and what you do here will make us more secure,” said Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama).

Some 130 engineers will work to produce the first complete missiles by early next year.

Then, Raytheon executives promised one year after that, they will have expanded the program, working with foreign countries to build the largest missile ever for missile defense and have it deployed by 2018.

“We’re so pleased to do all of this in Huntsville, Rocket City USA,” said Bill Swanson, Raytheon’s President and CEO.

Construction workers broke ground on the facility June 27, 2011.  At $75 million, it’s one of Raytheon’s largest single investments ever.

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