Moss Point plant to build new unmanned aircraft

Northrop Grumman and EADS will build

the new Eurohawk unmanned aircraft at Northrop's Moss Point

facility, according to U.S. Sen. Trent Lott.

Northrop Grumman announced Feb. 1 that its venture with EADS won

a $559 million contract to provide the German military with

unmanned reconnaissance planes.

Northrop said the German Ministry of Defense selected the

EuroHawk GmBH to replace its existing reconnaissance fleet of

Breguet Atlantic aircraft, which have been in service since 1972.

Lott, R-Miss., said Friday that Northrop Grumman decided to

build the Eurohawk in Moss Point. Northrop also has shipyards in

Pascagoula and New Orleans.

Gemma Loochkartt, spokeswoman for Northrop Grumman's Integrated

Systems, said the Eurohawk is based on the Globalhawk, which is

currently being built at the Moss Point facility. She said the

first Globalhawk fuselage is expected to roll out from the Moss

Point plant March 1.

Loochkartt said the contract calls for Northrop Grumman and EADS

to produce five demonstration aircraft, according to a article.

The fuselage will be completed at the Moss Point facility. Once

the fuselage is completed, construction will move to Palmdale,

Calif., where the aircraft will complete assembly.

Once the aircraft is assembled, Loochkartt said it will be

shipped to Europe, where EADS will add the signal and intelligence

payload to the assembled Eurohawk.

The first Eurohawk is scheduled for delivery in 2010. The other

four Eurohawk prototypes are scheduled to be delivered between 2011

and 2014.

Loochkartt said she did not know how many additional employees

will be added to the Moss Point assembly lines as a result of the


"That hasn't been determined," Loochkartt said. "But, as

production rolls along, we will determine how many mechanics and

engineers we need to add."

Moss Point Mayor Xavier Bishop said the new project is good for

his city.

"I think it further solidifies the area as a technology

corridor," Bishop said.

Bishop said the project gives momentum to area leaders attempt

to diversify the economy by adding high tech projects, such as

aerospace, to Jackson County's traditional mix of heavy industry.