General Atomics breaks ground for plant expansion

SHANNON — General Atomics’ Electromagnetic Systems Group (GA EMS) broke ground today on an expansion to its existing 127,000-square-foot facility in Shannon.

The expansion project represents a $12 million corporate investment and will create 25 additional direct jobs over the next three years, according to the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA).

From its Shannon location in Lee County, General Atomics manufactures, assembles and tests electromagnetic aircraft launch systems (EMALS), which are used to launch planes from next-generation aircraft carriers.

In 2005, General Atomics constructed a 25,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Lee County to begin production of the EMALS launch motor system for integration on future U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. Since it was initially constructed, the facility has undergone several major expansions, providing capital improvements and manufacturing system upgrades, which have resulted in the 127,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space the company currently operates from in Lee County.

GA EMS currently manufactures motors and power electronics for EMALS, the advanced arresting gear and hybrid electric drive for DDG 51 and has established facilities for supporting the manufacturing and testing of high-performance motors, actuators, inverters and machined parts, from small parts to precision machining of alignment critical large assemblies

The GA EMS Tupelo facility will support both government and commercial products. General Atomics currently employs 65 workers at its Shannon facility.

“General Atomics is excited to increase our footprint in Tupelo, Miss. We have continued to receive great community support and help for training our employees. The latest expansion is enabling GA EMS Group to prepare for future Navy depot-related maintenance work and will allow us to manufacture large-scale motors and generators and to perform high-precision machining from cable lugs to Electromagnetic Railgun rails,” said Scott Forney, GA EMS vice president.

The new 140,000-square-foot building expansion will provide the company with additional warehouse storage, space for large-scale machining capabilities, test rooms and new areas for printed circuit board assembly and cable manufacturing.

MDA worked closely with the Community Development Foundation to support the project and provided the company with assistance through the Momentum Mississippi incentives program to help facilitate the building improvements.

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