Lockheed Martin’s Camden, Ark., plant will benefit from a $31.9 million missile system weapons contract between the company and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
The contract is to build components for the Phase 3 Weapon System Integration program. According to a statement from Lockheed, OpFires seeks to develop and demonstrate an innovative ground-launched system to enable a hypersonic boost glide missile system to penetrate modern enemy air defenses and rapidly engage time-sensitive targets.
Lockheed Martin, DARPA and the U.S. Army, aims to develop and demonstrate an innovative, ground-launched, mobile, integrated weapon system that leverages DARPA-funded propulsion solutions and hypersonic boost glide technology. The award for Phase 3 of the OpFires program will take the design from the initial requirements development through the Critical Design Review (CDR) in late 2021. Integrated flight testing is scheduled to begin in 2022, with component and subsystem tests expected in 2021.
“The OpFires missile is critical to providing the U.S. Army with a highly maneuverable and rapid response solution capable of operating from unpredictable land-launch positions to suppress hostile threats,” Hady Mourad, director of Tactical and Strike Missiles Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said in the statement. ”Lockheed Martin will deliver the prototype missiles utilizing the experienced production teams that currently produce the ATACMS, GMLRS and PAC-3 missile systems in Camden, Arkansas.”
In September 2019, the company broke ground on the new Long Range Fires Production Facility. That ground-breaking followed Gov. Asa Hutchinson to the Paris Air Show in June, where he met company officials to announce the company’s $142 million investment in its Camden facility, adding 326 new jobs by 2024.
The newly created jobs will grow the Camden facility workforce from approximately 650 employees to more than 900 employees in the next few years, officials said. Once construction is complete by the beginning of 2021, the new Long Range facility will add more than 70,000-square-feet of production and office space to the property in Highland Industrial Park. the expansion will support increased orders for the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), the Low-Cost Reduced-Range Practice Rocket (LCRRPR) and other associated work.
Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 105,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.