New Strategic Weapons Systems Ashore Will Replace 1950s-Era Facility
Cape Canaveral, FL (August 2, 2012) - The Navy Strategic Systems Program at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) will refurbish and update a 1950s-era submarine missile test complex. The new Strategic Weapons System Ashore (SWS Ashore) facility at CCAFS Complexes 25 and 29 will provide the U.S. Navy with a single, land-based facility for testing submarine missile systems.
CCAFS Launch Complexes 25 and 29 were originally constructed for the first Fleet Ballistic Missile test launches in the 1950s, and use of the locations was discontinued in the 1970s. When the new work is finished, the complexes will support testing systems found in the current Ohio-class submarine as well as systems under development for the Ohio replacement submarine.
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. Stationary, inert missiles outfitted with electronic monitoring equipment will be used for the testing, and the test facility is not intended to be used for actual missile launches.
"We are working hard to ensure defense programs have the resources they need to call Florida home," noted Florida Governor Rick Scott. "Our state has unmatched military and defense talent and infrastructure, and it is important that we continue to invest in modernizing them to meet current defense needs."
"We are pleased to have this new, all-inclusive test facility in our state and anticipate seeing maximum utilization of these available launch complexes at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station," added Lt. Governor and Space Florida Board Chair Jennifer Carroll.
"The combination of this area's workforce and infrastructure capabilities lend itself perfectly to the testing needs of NOTU at this time," said Capt. J.P. Heatherington, Commander, Naval Ordnance Test Unit. "We look forward to working with the State of Florida to build out this capability at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station."
Space Florida and the EDC of Florida's Space Coast have been working with the U.S. Navy for more than a year to secure CCAFS decommissioned launch complexes as the location for this test facility. Today, Space Florida has committed to providing $5 million in capital improvements over three years to the demolition and rebuild of the site. Space Florida and the EDC anticipate 100 jobs may be created within three years as a result of the project, with average annual salaries of $90,000 and approximately 85% of the projected workforce from civilian contractors, including former Space Shuttle workers sourced locally.
Construction is expected to begin later this year and be completed in 2015. The Ohio systems are projected to be operational in 2017 and the Ohio replacement systems will be operational in 2020.
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.
"We are pleased that the U.S. Navy has selected Florida and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as its location for the SWS Ashore facility," said Space Florida President Frank DiBello. "This area's existing space industry infrastructure, combined with our highly-skilled, technical workforce, sets Florida apart from other states, and we look forward to working with the Navy to assist them in making the most out of these assets."
The Navy considered several locations for the SWS-Ashore facility. The Navy ultimately chose CCAFS as a result of its unique capabilities and suitability for the proposed facility operations.
"The new SWS Ashore facility solidifies NOTU's footprint on the Space Coast for the next 80 years and brings a wealth of opportunity for business expansion and attraction," said Lynda Weatherman, president & CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast. "We are a community that supports our military installations 100% and welcome this enhanced capability at NOTU."
The Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) program remains a crucial element of the strategic deterrent capabilities for the United States and is under the purview of the Navy's Strategic Systems Programs office headquartered in Washington, D.C. The SWS Ashore facility will enhance NOTU's capability to carry out it's current mission to support FBM operations. The Cape Canaveral division of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. will be responsible for SWS Ashore facility design and construction, along with infrastructure support.