Boeing opens high-tech Huntsville defense lab expansion

Boeing cut the ribbon Monday on expanding its Huntsville electronics manufacturing hub, as it expands the missile defense systems the U.S. is supplying Ukraine with in its war with Russia.

The ceremony officially opened the 9,000-square-foot expansion of the Boeing Electronics Center of Excellence. The center, near Huntsville International Airport, is where the company builds circuit boards for the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) missile.

Boeing crews worked through the holidays to deliver the P-3 seekers (Parts B), said Kay Sears, Boeing vice president and general manager of Space, Intelligence and Weapons Systems at Boeing Defense, Space and Security.

Kay Sears, Boeing Vice President and General Manager for Boeing Defense, Space and Security Boeing’s Vice President and General Manager for Boeing Defense, Space and Security will officially open the expansion for the Boeing Electronics Manufacturing Center on January 23, 2023.

Seekers are guidance systems that use infrared light beams to detect and track enemy missiles or aircraft. The seeker electronics manufactured in Huntsville are deployed with the U.S. military in various locations around the world, and Boeing said the Huntsville center produced “tens of thousands of circuit cards” for those systems.

Sears said the expansion is a sign of the expanding market for the electronics center’s products. And that leads to more work, she said.

Specialized circuit boards designed and built at the center are also used in NASA’s Space Launch System, the International Space Station and the Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile, Boeing leaders said.

“The work we do here is important,” said Robert Greene, senior director of Boeing’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Portfolio.

The detectors manufactured in Huntsville by Greene are a critical requirement of the US military and allies around the world. “Simply put, the circuit card assembly at the center will help our men and women in uniform protect themselves from various threats in a more complex world,” he said.

Sears said the technologies and processes developed at the center are unparalleled. “Think about automated inspection, some of our robotic stores, really state of the art manufacturing that’s driving innovation and enabling us to meet demand,” Sears said. “Huntsville is a great place for us to attract talent. Some of the technical schools are producing the best and the brightest. It’s supported by the Legislature and it’s a great place for us to invest.”

The company employs about 3,000 workers in Huntsville, Sears said, and “we’re not done.” We have a long-term strategy for Huntsville.

“In some technology fields, we’re recruiting and developing people right out of high school,” Sears Boeing said. College graduates in software and mechanical engineering required.

“And not everyone can have a college degree to work at Boeing,” Sears said. “We have a whole range of technology professionals who can come and be part of our growing community.”

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