Lockheed Martin could build £50m satellite factory in UK


Aerospace and defense company Lockheed Martin is considering building manufacturing and R&D facilities in the North East of the UK that could employ up to 2,300 people, one of its senior executives has said.

Nik Smith, Lockheed Martin’s UK and Europe regional director for space, said that the company is exploring options for a new facility in the North East and is looking to partner with businesses and skills organizations to support its plans.

Such a facility would represent an investment of over £50 million (US$67million), Lockheed Martin UK said in a statement.

Smith said, “We are committed to making the UK one of the most prosperous and capable space sectors in the world. With its strong manufacturing heritage, highly-skilled workforce and reputation for quality we’ve identified North East England as a strong contender for our future operations, potentially creating new high-technology engineering and manufacturing jobs for the region.”

Managers  from Lockheed Martin visited Newcastle last week for an event which aimed to explore options for its space business, including manufacturing and R&D facilities.

Lockheed Martin is already a partner in the SaxaVord Space Centre in the Shetlands, northern Europe’s first vertical satellite launch center, which is being built in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. The company is also a founding member of the UK’s new national space team, Athena, an industrial consortium that aims to provide technology and services across defence, space, communications and information technology to governments, businesses, and other organisations.

“With operations in the UK for over 80 years, Lockheed Martin has a proud track record of supporting the UK economy and today has people based at 23 locations,” said Paul Livingston, Lockheed Martin UK’s CEO. “We invest on average £1.8 billion [US$2.4 billion] in the UK each year. Increasing our investments is a key tenant of our global growth strategy and will enable us to partner with the government as it looks to achieve its vision of making the UK one of the most attractive and innovative space sectors in the world.”

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the UK’s Secretary of State for International Trade said, “I am delighted to be supporting Lockheed Martin as they announce their aspiration to establish a space manufacturing facility here in the North East of England.”

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