Lockheed opens Intelligent Factory in Alabama

  • October 6, 2021
  • William Payne

Aircraft maker Lockheed Martin has opened an intelligent factory in Courtland, Alabama, incorporating digital manufacturing, advanced robotics, smart tools and mixed reality working environments. The Courtland plant will become a centre for the company’s production of hypersonic strike weapons.

The 65,000-square-foot Hypersonic Missile Assembly Building 4 (MAB 4) is built on a digital foundation that Lockheed Martin has prioritised through mission-driven transformation efforts across the enterprise to meet customer needs with speed and agility.

The company has built the new plant around digital factory capabilities to deliver hypersonic missiles. The company is working closely with the US Department of Defense (DOD) in developing its advanced production facilities.

The second Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) production facility on the Alabama site, the location integrates digital transformation advancements such as robotic thermal protection application capabilities, smart torque tools and mixed-reality capabilities for training and virtual inspections. The machines in this facility will connect to the company’s Intelligent Factory Framework early next year, which digitally links production facilities and assets across Lockheed Martin to gain insights into the health, status and optimisation of operations. 

Lockheed Martin has had a presence in northern Alabama for over five decades. Within the last two years, Lockheed Martin has added a total of 117,000 square feet at the Courtland facility. The opening of MAB4 will bring an estimated 70 jobs to the area, adding to the approximately 2,600 employees already based in the state.

“Lockheed Martin has manufactured defence systems in Courtland since 1994, providing increasingly sophisticated capabilities to protect our nation, allies, and security partners,” said Sarah Hiza, vice president and general manager of Strategic and Missile Defence Systems at Lockheed Martin Space. “Our long-time partnerships with Alabama, the Department of Defense, and academic researchers have paved the way to develop the most advanced hypersonic strike capabilities using the best-of-the-best digital technologies from across our enterprise.”

“Hypersonic strike capabilities are critical to combat evolving threats, giving our warfighters the tools they need to complete complex missions,” said Jay Pitman, vice president of Air Dominance and Strike Weapons at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “The talented teams who work at these new advanced strike production facilities are delivering essential missile and hypersonic vehicle technologies in support of the US National Defence Strategy.”