Delaware company builds unmanned airships for U.S. military
Thursday, June 24th, 2010
ILC Dover has extended its contract with Lockheed Martin to provide lighter-than-air “aerostats”, very similar to a blimp. The aerostats are used in Afghanistan and Iraq to provide surveillance and communication for U.S. troops.
In order to meet increased demand for the lighter-than-air craft, ILC has expanded from its facility in Frederica into a second building in Dover. Company president Bill Wallach says, “We’ve been able to ramp up our production rate to our customer’s demands in a time frame believed to be unobtainable a few months ago.” The Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) helped to fast-track the company’s permitting process to move into their expanded facility.
The company is in the process of hiring dozens of new workers to crank out eight aerostats per month. The previous rate had been about one aircraft every two months.
Governor Markell was on hand for Thursday’s ribbon cutting on the new facility. He says, “New jobs and a new facility, this is the kind of progress that we are working hard every day to achieve in our state. We will continue to focus on improving the conditions that help businesses like ILC grow because the economic benefits produce a positive ripple effect for Delaware, for the region and beyond.”