Aerojet Rocketdyne's new large solid rocket motor manufacturing facility is officially open, the Arkansas Department of Commerce announced Tuesday.
The company, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. of El Segundo, California, broke ground on its 17,000-SF Engineering, Manufacturing and Development facility in April 2019. It's part of the company's ongoing expansion in Camden, where it produces more than 75,000 solid rocket motors per year.
The company said the expansion was driven by a consolidation and modernization initiative that began in 2015 designed to reduce costs and increase efficiency. The company said it surpassed its goal of reducing costs by $230 million annually.
"The engineering, manufacturing and development facility is the newest, state-of-the-art large solid rocket motor manufacturing facility in the nation, and we look forward to expanding our decades-long solid rocket motor production capability in Camden," CEO and President Eileen Drake said in a news release. "Thanks in large part to Gov. Asa Hutchinson and our partners in the great state of Arkansas, Camden is poised to become a major center of large solid rocket motor production."
The company said the facility positions it to deliver on national security programs including strategic deterrence, hypersonics and missile defense. Aerojet Rocketdyne was recently selected by Northrop Grumman to provide a large solid rocket motor system and a post-boost propulsion system as part of its nationwide GBSD team.
"The aerospace and defense industry has a significant impact on Arkansas' economy, and Aerojet Rocketdyne has been a vital part of that success for many years," Hutchinson said in the release. "The company has demonstrated unwavering dedication to both the workforce and community in Calhoun County, and I am delighted to see our partnership continue as the company expands operations in Camden."
U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., said Arkansas is playing "an increasingly important role in the production of advanced national defense technologies and tools. This facility represents the next step in that evolution, and our state is proud to partner with Aerojet Rocketdyne so that its operations in Camden are equipped to meet the company's needs for a business-friendly environment and skilled workforce capable of helping ensure the readiness, effectiveness and safety of our troops."
The company received the following state incentives: Create Rebate, an annual cash rebate based on the number of jobs at the plant; Tax Back, which provides sales tax refunds on building materials, taxable machinery and equipment associated with the project; and $1.3 million from the governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund. Local incentives, offered by the Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development, were $126,900 for job creation, $18,000 for recruitment and $2,000 for retention.