Lockheed Martin set to unveil Navy fleet ballistic missile operation in Titusville

Lockheed Martin on Tuesday will officially mark the transition of its fleet ballistic missile headquarters from California to the Space Coast, reinforcing the region’s critical role in the nation’s nuclear deterrence triad.

During a morning ceremony at its Titusville facility, company, local and military officials will gather to mark the move of the program that supports submarine-launched Trident missiles. Test flights are often conducted – unannounced in advance for security reasons – by the Navy’s Naval Ordnance Test Unit off the coast of Cape Canaveral.

Of the 700 program employees once in Sunnyvale, California, a total of 350 have already found or will find their way to the Titusville campus. The remainder were transitioned to roles in Colorado.

“There are milestones that document official changes,” Sarah Hiza, vice president for Lockheed Martin’s fleet ballistic missile program, told FLORIDA TODAY. “This now says that going forward, the contracts will be out of here rather than Sunnyvale.”

The company so far has committed to investing about $40 million into the campus at the corner of State Road 405 and Grissom Parkway. That amount will likely increase – along with the number of people hired – in the coming years as Lockheed Martin upgrades the Trident missile.

The triad is a three-pronged approach to deploying nuclear weapons: land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs; submarine-launched missiles, or SLBMs; and bomber aircraft. The Space Coast has played a role in the Navy’s submarine-based efforts since 1950.

The move, according to Hiza, made sense considering the proximity to NOTU at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

“We have a significant presence of our customer here,” Hiza, who moved to the Space Coast last year, said. “We already had about 650 people here in Brevard County before the program moved its headquarters.”

Other elements like affordability, available workforce, and proximity to frequent travel locations also factored into the decision to move the program.

But the benefits aren’t just limited to Lockheed Martin and the Navy: the Space Coast stands to gain on the economic front, too.

“Lockheed Martin’s fleet ballistic missile program in Titusville is equivalent to what Embraer was to Melbourne 10 years ago,” Lynda Weatherman, CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, said about the Brazilian aerospace company that builds aircraft in Melbourne. “Coming in, starting in with 200 or 300 jobs, but then as you make the case, it’s at 1,000 jobs.”

Weatherman said the EDC traveled to California twice to pitch Brevard County as the best site for the missile headquarters.

“The EDC’s job is to do what we can to create that environment,” she said.

Contact Emre Kelly at [email protected] or 321-242-3715. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @EmreKelly.

Read more here: https://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2019/07/29/lockheed-martin-set-unveil-navy-fleet-ballistic-missile-operation-titusville-florida/1855797001/?fbclid=IwAR2TDSJMOYVqtkXksFsUYW7Rq0nfT72cinkxzE2kQnqkFB3maumiDpH0Lrw