The Cape Canaveral division of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. will be responsible for design, construction and infrastructure support of the US Navy’s Strategic Weapons Systems Ashore facility, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, expected to create 100 jobs in the next three years.
As an incentive Space Florida, the Sunshine State’s spaceport authority and aerospace development organization, committed to providing $5 million in capital improvements over three years for the demolition and rebuilding of the 1950’s era Cape Canaveral Air Force Station complex.
The new complex will provide the U.S. Navy with a single, land-based facility for testing submarine missile systems. To date, missile launch systems, fire control, guidance and navigation, and the missiles themselves were all tested separately by the Navy at various locations across the U.S. through computer simulation. By bringing systems together in one location, the Navy will be able to test interactions between system components using the same hardware and software found on the submarines.
The Navy said it considered several locations for the SWS Ashore facility, and ultimately chose Florida’s Space Coast as a result of its unique capabilities and suitability for the proposed facility. Stationary, inert missiles, outfitted with electronic monitoring equipment will tested; the test facility is not intended to be used for actual missile launches.
“The combination of this area’s workforce and infrastructure capabilities lend itself perfectly to the testing needs of Naval Ordinance Test Unit at this time,” said Capt. J.P. Heatherington, Commander, NOTU. “We look forward to working with the State of Florida to build out this capability at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.”
When completed, the facility will support testing systems found in the current Ohio-class submarine as well as systems under development for the Ohio replacement submarine. In addition to maintaining the current Ohio-class fleet, the Navy is scheduled to begin building a replacement to the Ohio-class submarine later this decade in order to replace the retiring fleet. Once commissioned, the Ohio-replacement submarines are projected to be in service to the 2080s. Systems for the new submarine will be installed and tested in the SWS Ashore as part of the initial build program.
“With its presence on the Space Coast for the next 70-plus years, the SWS Ashore facility solidifies NOTU’s footprint here and shows we have created an environment in which the Navy knows we can meet, and exceed its needs now and for many years to come,” said Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. “That commitment means the Space Coast will benefit not just from this program, but from the potential business expansion and attraction opportunities that can arise from it.”