PASCAGOULA, Miss., April 11, 2003 -- Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove Thursday signed legislation authorizing proceeds from the sale of $48 million in bonds for Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE:NOC) Ship Systems sector to expand and modernize the company's Ingalls Operations in Pascagoula, Miss.
As part of the partnership with the state, Northrop Grumman is allocating $96 million in capital funds to the project at Ingalls Operations and also its Gulfport Operations in Gulfport, Miss.
The ceremony for the bill signing was held aboard Pinckney (DDG 91), one of the Aegis guided missile destroyers being built at Pascagoula.
"The image of Mississippi in 2003 is unlike anything anyone could have imagined," Gov. Musgrove said. "It's an image of companies like Northrop Grumman doing business in the state with Mississippians building state-of-the-art ships for our nation's military. I'm proud of what we've done to get to this point.
"We thought today would be a great presentation to the men and women who work right here at Northrop Grumman that you are important, and what you do is not only important economically to our state, but is absolutely vital to the well-being and safety of our nation."
Expansion and modernization efforts planned for Ingalls Operations include the addition of new blasting and painting halls; increased ship construction area of over 400,000 square feet to support the DD(X) and U.S. Coast Guard Deepwater programs; a state-of-the-art, automated steel processing panel line for improved quality and accuracy; and additional technology design and procurement development space.
Gulfport Operations is scheduled for a three-year conversion into the United States' first primary composite combatant ship manufacturing facility. Other improvements include environmentally controlled enclosed buildings that will add 50 percent more work space, a new outfitting pier and outfitting building for ship completion, and the addition of a two-story administration building to house professional and production support personnel, as well as a cafeteria for all employees.
"Today represents the culmination of a lot of hard work on the part of many, many people," Mississippi Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck said. "The signing of this bill that has passed the legislature was one of the highlights of the 2003 legislative session. I'm honored today to stand on the Pinckney to build on the future of our mutual partnership that has held firm for more than 50 years.
"This is more than a business. It pumps $8.4 million a week in payroll into the local economy. This is a way of life."
Mississippi Senate President Pro-Tempore Travis Little was instrumental in seeing the bill's passage through the legislature. Sen. Little, commenting on the sector's plan to create approximately 2,000 new jobs over the next few years, noted, "I'm just as excited about retaining the 11,000 jobs, and the paychecks you're already putting out every month in the economy, and what this facility contributes to the economy in Mississippi," Sen. Little said. "We've talked about what this facility has meant to the state of Mississippi through the years. I've always taken great pride in Ingalls shipyard and the fact that it's in Mississippi."
Mississippi Representative and Northrop Grumman Ship Systems Senior Production Planner Billy Broomfield described the determination of the legislature to pass the bill, saying, "We put our shoulders together because we understood that it's not just about shipbuilding, it's about top quality shipbuilding. If you did not produce the kind of quality that you produce, we would not be here today."
Dr. Philip A. Dur, Northrop Grumman corporate vice president and president of the company's Ship Systems sector, said, "The state demonstrated the insight and determination to lead the state of Mississippi to a more prosperous future by investing in the potential and the capabilities of its largest industrial partner. The legislation you have passed is a watershed and a model of cooperative effort between the private sector and the state. There is no doubt that it will improve the efficiency and competitiveness of our company by ensuring that our Ingalls and Gulfport facilities are 'world class,' and that they provide 11,000 shipbuilders with the best opportunities and the means to build America's greatest ships."
The Pascagoula facility was originally founded 65 years ago under the state's "Balance Agriculture with Industry" program. A major new facility construction in 1967 was accomplished with $130 million in state revenue bonds. Since 1970 the company has invested an additional $900 million.
Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems Sector includes primary operations in Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss.; and in New Orleans and Tallulah, La., as well as in a network of fleet support offices in the U.S. and Japan. Ship Systems, which currently employs more than 17,000 shipbuilding professionals, primarily in Mississippi and Louisiana, is one of the nation's leading full service systems companies for the design, engineering, construction, and life cycle support of major surface ships for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international navies, and for commercial vessels of all types.
CONTACT: Jim McIngvale Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (228) 935-3971