Region & State

East Camden to be home to new $33M missile factory

 RTX spokesperson Jeff Shockey (at lectern) talks about a new missile plant Raytheon-Rafael will build in East Camden, Arkansas, at a press conference Thursday. Behind him are, l to r, state Commerce Secretary Hugh McDonald, Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development director James Lee Silliman and Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders. | Facebook screenshot

An American-Israeli joint venture will build a $33-million missile plant in Southeast Arkansas, Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced

By SONNY ALBARADO | Arkansas Advocate

The project, a partnership between Raytheon Technologies and Israel-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, will bring 30 jobs to Arkansas, the governor said.

It will start producing missiles in 2025 for the Iron Dome and the American-equivalent SkyHunter systems, Sanders said during a morning press conference.

Sanders’ remarks referenced the “evil” of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by the Palestinian Hamas militants and the continuing military action in Israel and the Gaza strip.

“We don’t shy away from being America’s arsenal,” she said, noting that military weapons and munitions are Arkansas’ largest export worth $1 billion a year. “We are not bashful about building the aircraft and weapons necessary to keep Americans safe.

“Soon everyone from the U.S. Marine Corps to the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] will be defending innocent lives using missiles built in Arkansas,” Sanders said.

The deal to locate the new missile plant in Arkansas’ “Golden Triangle” came together during Sanders’ economic development trip to the Paris Air Show this summer, where state officials demonstrated its economic vitality and spirit, she said.

She hinted that more jobs announcements resulting from that trip would be forthcoming.

Jeff Shockey, RTX senior vice president of global governmental affairs, said the new plant will turn out about 325 SkyHunter missiles initially and ultimately 1,000 to 2,000 Tamir missiles a year for the Israeli defense system.

“There has been a lot of talk in the media about the resiliencies of the nation’s munitions industrial base, that it can’t deliver what is needed,” Shockey said. “Today we are doing something about that.”

The venture will create more than 30 jobs, Shockey said, “and we anticipate more work coming with the global demand for missile defense.”

Clint O’Neal, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, said state incentives included a $250,000 infrastructure grant from the Governor’s Quick Action Fund and performance-based income tax credits and sales tax rebates.

The project will also benefit from a proposed payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) in Calhoun County that will reduce the facility’s property taxes, said James Lee Silliman, executive director of the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development.

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