COLUMBUS — Stark Aerospace held the grand opening celebration of its new facility in Columbus yesterday. Stark Aerospace is a subsidiary of IAI North America, the U.S. subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI).
Yair Shamir, chairman of the board of IAI, said, “We established Stark Aerospace to advance IAI technologies, products, and systems to enhance the security of the United States. Our goal for Stark Aerospace is to become a leading regional aerospace and defense company benefiting its customers, community, owners, and employees.”
Stark Aerospace was established in 2006 at Mississippi State University’s Raspet Flight Lab in Starkville, and a second division was added in 2007 in Columbus. Yesterday, the ribbon was cut on an 86,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport. In addition, construction is already underway for a 20,000-square-foot expansion expected to be completed in January 2010.
“With the construction of this new facility, Stark Aerospace is further demonstrating its commitment to doing business in Mississippi,” said Governor Haley Barbour in a statement released for the occasion. “I commend the company for the additional jobs they are creating here in the Golden Triangle area and the contributions their operations are making to this community, the state, and to our nation’s defense.”
The Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) division is producing the Hunter MQ-5B for the U.S. Army. It has flown hundreds of thousands of hours in Afghanistan and Iraq in support of the Global War on Terror. Stark is currently expanding its UAS flight operations and facilities to meet increased demand in the American market.
The Electro-Optics division performs assembly of new TAMAM POP (Plug-in Optronic Payload) 300 series payloads and performs repairs on these units used on AAI Shadow UAS in Afghanistan and Iraq. These payloads are also used on law enforcement helicopters and for other surveillance needs.
Stark is broadening its capabilities through increased U.S. based engineering research support.