PALMDALE — There will be a new building on the horizon at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale before long, as Lockheed Martin is constructing a new low bay advanced manufacturing facility for its Skunk Works advanced development arm.
Company and local officials ceremoniously turned dirt on the project last week, kicking off construction of the new facility, the first new construction for the Lockheed site in some three decades.
The 208,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility will allow the Skunk Works, known for its innovative and typically secret projects, to develop capabilities faster, according to company officials.
It will allow the company to integrate use of artificial intelligence, robotics and other advanced technologies to help reduce costs and will include advanced safety features to protect the workforce.
A digitally enabled production environment, the new manufacturing facility will be capable of rapid reconfiguration and advanced testing to take new capabilities “from factory to the field faster than ever,” company officials said.
The new facility is expected to open in 2021.
“Lockheed Martin is an important aerospace and defense partner and today’s groundbreaking is another indication of their commitment to ensuring their ongoing support of vital national security missions,” Palmdale Mayor Steve Hofbauer said. “It will also have a very positive impact on the local economy.”
Assemblyman Tom Lackey spoke at the ceremony, as well.
“We’re very, very proud to see a resurgence of Lockheed Martin in the aerospace competitive market,” he said.
The new facility is another sign of a surging aerospace industry in the Valley.
Northrop Grumman, also located at Air Force Plant 42, has expanded its facilities as it gears up for production of the B-21 bomber and continues work on several other manufacturing projects, including the center fuselages of the F-35 fighter.
The company has also ramped up hiring in recent years to staff the multiple projects.