Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation has celebrated the Grand Opening of the Aurora Flight Sciences of Mississippi (AMS) manufacturing plant located at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport, Columbus, MS.
On hand to mark the opening of Aurora’s newest facility were Rep. Roger F. Wicker (R-MS) and Rep. Charles “Chip” Pickering (R-MS) representing Mississippi’s First and Third District, respectively, in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Also speaking at the event were Columbus native Kenneth E. Miller, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force, Dr. John S. Langford, president and chief executive officer of Aurora Flight Sciences, and Greg Stewart, General Manager of the corporation’s Mississippi operations.
As keynote speaker Rep. Wicker said “”the opening of this facility signals another giant step in Aurora Flight Sciences’ strong partnership with our region and strengthens the commitment we have made to bring high-tech manufacturing opportunities to Mississippi. Aurora is already right at home in the Golden Triangle, and I look forward to continuing to support its efforts to create jobs and enhance our national security.””
The AMS operation fabricates composite aerostructures. AMS currently provides airframe design, assembly and integration of the high performance Orion HALL (High Altitude, Long Loiter) hydrogen powered Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) and other Aurora unmanned aircraft, including the GoldenEye 50 and GoldenEye 80. Manned aircraft work at the Mississippi operation will include the Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft (ACCA) and some parts for the Sikorsky Aircraft CH-53K heavy lift helicopter.
The facility includes clean rooms, climate-controlled material storage and all other items necessary for high-quality composite aerostructures fabrication. Employees are currently fabricating the tools and part molds needed to create the individual pieces of the Orion HALL composite airframe, along with fabricating the first parts. “I am continually impressed with the quality of the people we are hiring here in Mississippi. They are hard workers who pick up composite aircraft fabrication skills quickly,” said Greg Stewart.
Kenneth Miller said he was “delighted to be part of a history making event,” while noting that the Air Force recently awarded one of two research contracts to Aurora to look at composite aircraft technologies for application in the military transport arena. “Companies like Aurora are critical to the future of this country and also more specifically, to Mississippi,” he added.
Dr. Langford said “Aurora will be in Columbus for the long haul, contributing to the local economy and to the nation’s defence.”
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