The global defence contractor has launched a new manufacturing facility, designed to support advanced weapons systems development.
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Northrop Grumman has announced the construction of a new 113,000 square foot (10,500 square metre) missile integration facility in West Virginia, built to support a ramp-up in the production of current and future weapons capability.
Once completed, slated for 2024, the facility is tipped to house production of up to 600 strike missiles per year.
This is expected to include the second tranche of Northrop Grumman’s Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile Extended Range (AARGM-ER) capability as part of low-rate initial production.
According to the prime, the missile integration facility is not limited to producing one type of missile but can be modified to manage the integration of current and new missile programs.
Accordingly, Northrop Grumman has committed to investing in adaptable manufacturing techniques to enable quick transitions in line with changes in demand.
“Our new missile integration facility is a factory of the future, designed to affordably produce high quantities of missiles to meet increasing customer demand,” Mary Petryszyn, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Defense Systems, said.
“Northrop Grumman’s investments in manufacturing capacity, digital processes and emerging technologies translates into the rapid deployment of capability into the field.”
The facility is set to leverage automation, smart manufacturing equipment, and modular work cells, which would reportedly enable the company to improve quality, reduce costs, and maximise production capacity.
This latest facility builds on the development of Northrop Grumman’s Hypersonics Capability Center in Elkton, Maryland, designed to provide full lifecycle production for hypersonic weapons — scheduled to be operational in 2023.
Northrop Grumman, along with Raytheon, recently secured a firm fixed price other transaction (OT) agreement modification by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), enabling the companies to continue their development of the Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI) system.
Each modification has a reported value of approximately US$41.5 million (AU$60 million) and extends to February 2023.
The GPI capability, which forms part of the MDA’s regional hypersonic missile defences program, is expected to enhance deterrence and defences against hypersonic missile threats.
The contract modification builds on the initial 2021 award, which entailed an accelerated concept design for a GPI prototype.
The GPI concept, which can reportedly fit into the MDA’s missile defence architecture, is being developed via a systems requirements review-prototype under this modification.