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Huntsville secures 500 jobs for America's next-generation missile defense system, thanks to Huntssville

Huntsville secures 500 jobs for America's next-generation missile defense system, thanks to Huntssville

Northrop Grumman will hire 500 more engineers to support Americas new Air Force-led defense against foreign nuclear missile attacks in Huntsville on Monday, intensifying the hot market for engineers.

Northrop leaders cited the city's "rich expertise and legacy" in the command and control systems that are used to run missiles, including those that protect America from foreign attack. The city has long been a participant in the missile defense triad of ground, air, and sea defense.

Northrop will win a contract in 2020 to replace the nations 60-year-old Minute Man missile defense system, worth nearly $14 billion. The system is also equipped to launch missiles against an attack on the presidents command, 24 hours a day.

The contract is what is called womb to tomb, which means the development of the new missile, the newly developed command and control launch systems, as well as all of Northrops silos, launch centers, and around-the-clock crews to staff them, Northpole's Greg Manuel said in Huntsville today. Manuel is vice president and general manager of Northrops Space Systems Strategic Deterrent Systems, Inc.

Manuel stated, We went on a search to determine where the expertise gaps we were going to need to develop, construct, and deploy if we wanted to build, manufacture, or deploy an weapon system." Huntsville was one of them, according to the report. We also considered Colorado Springs, Bellevue, Nebraska, and San Diego for communications, but Huntsville is our largest what we call spoke location. Montgomery, Ala., will undergo some work, according to reports.

Huntsville and Colorado Springs have a strong missile industry, despite heightened competition between the two rapidly expanding tech hubs. Both sought to be the permanent headquarters of the new U.S. Space Command, and Huntsville won in a Air Force decision being challenged by Colorado Springs. The two cities have a variety of facilities and commands in the space arena.

Northrop is seeking for software developers, system engineers, cyber engineers and cyber scientists, as well as data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in Huntsville. Also, we're looking for business managers, buyers, and administrators. And we do need mechanics, Manuel said. We are building a product at this site, says the company. Manuel declined to state what will be produced in Huntsville for security reasons, but did state, We will build a portion of the missile here.

The company's challenge is that the market for these skills is extremely strained, Manuel said. It doesnt matter where you are in the Huntsville area, the entire aerospace and defense industry is searching for the same resources. Its a great opportunity, and that s why were bringing in an awful lot of talent from other places in the United States, he added.

Huntsville's recruiting process is much like any other town," Manuel said. You have to go through the process of advertising what Huntsville really is, and what it isnt, just like Northern Utah when we relocated our headquarters from Southern California. He stated that the company eventually got 600 of 1,000 workers to join them from California.

The firm will be working on the missile project at a building in the former, original part of Cummings Research Park, called Cingings Park East. Manuel stated, Wed like to start the revitalization.

The area is already seeing growth and changes, fueled in part by the demand for office space near Redstone Arsenal. The new permanent campus of the Alabama School for Cyber Engineering and Technology and the MidCity amphitheater are transforming CRP East into a more vibrant and active part of Cummings Research Park," said Erin Koshut, the parks executive director, today.

This isnt Northrop Grummans first Huntsville effort. The firm employs more than 2,000 people in other operations, including software development for the Army, in addition to more that 3,000 in the firm's own workforce.

Governor Kay Ivey to Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, state and local leaders, all gave a strong endorsement of the decision today.

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