Lott says Moss Point plant to build Eurohawk

Published 12:21 am Sunday, February 18, 2007

Northrop Grumman and EADS will build the new Eurohawk unmanned aircraft at Northrop’s Moss Point facility, according to U.S. Sen. Trent Lott.

Northrop Grumman announced Feb. 1 that its venture with EADS won a $559 million contract to provide the German military with unmanned reconnaissance planes.

Northrop said the German Ministry of Defense selected the EuroHawk GmBH to replace its existing reconnaissance fleet of Breguet Atlantic aircraft, which have been in service since 1972.

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Lott, R-Miss., said Friday that Northrop Grumman decided to build the Eurohawk in Moss Point. Northrop also has shipyards in Pascagoula and New Orleans.

Gemma Loochkartt, spokeswoman for Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Systems, said the Eurohawk is based on the Globalhawk, which is currently being built at the Moss Point facility. She said the first Globalhawk fuselage is expected to roll out from the Moss Point plant March 1.

Loochkartt said the contract calls for Northrop Grumman and EADS to produce five demonstration aircraft.

The fuselage will be completed at the Moss Point facility. Once the fuselage is completed, construction will move to Palmdale, Calif., where the aircraft will complete assembly.

Once the aircraft is assembled, Loochkartt said it will be shipped to Europe, where EADS will add the signal and intelligence payload to the assembled Eurohawk.

The first Eurohawk is scheduled for delivery in 2010. The other four Eurohawk prototypes are scheduled to be delivered between 2011 and 2014.

Loochkartt said she did not know how many additional employees will be added to the Moss Point assembly lines as a result of the Eurohawk.

“That hasn’t been determined,” Loochkartt said. “But, as production rolls along, we will determine how many mechanics and engineers we need to add.”

Moss Point Mayor Xavier Bishop said the new project is good for his city.

“I think it further solidifies the area as a technology corridor,” Bishop said.

Bishop said the project gives momentum to area leaders attempt to diversify the economy by adding high tech projects, such as aerospace, to Jackson County’s traditional mix of heavy industry.