A new annex for the production of cruise missiles has opened at Lockheed Martin’s Pike County Operations facility in Troy, Ala., according to a company press release. Lockheed Martin makes the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) at the Alabama facility, and spent $16.8 million to build the annex. In 2014, the company said the expansion—which increased the size of the facility by 70 percent—was a response to growing demand for cruise missiles, both at home and abroad (Poland is purchasing JASSMs to equip on its F-16 fleet). About 370 people work at the Troy facility, and 150 directly support the JASSM program or the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) program. Lockheed Martin produces about 7,000 missiles each year in Troy, according to Business Alabama. The JASSM, one of USAF’s baseline conventional standoff weapons, is integrated on the B-1B, B-2, B-52, F-16, and F-15E and its extended range variant was approved for initial operations on USAF’s B-1B fleet in December 2014.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.