Israel is Getting its First Missile Defense Canister from Our Own Stark Aerospace
GOLDEN TRIANGLE REGION – Courtesy of the Dispatch
Stark Aerospace CEO Tom Ronaldi, flanked by Mississippi and Israeli officials, thanks guests for attending a commemoration event for the delivery of a missile defense canister to Israel – Alex Holloway, Dispatch Staff
Stark Aerospace, with its facility near Golden Triangle Regional Airport, recently commemorated the delivery of the first Arrow 3 missile defense system to our Isreali allies. The unit is part of a system designed to shoot down incoming missiles. The project is a joint effort among Israel Aerospace Industries, Boeing, and Stark.
CEO Tom Ronaldi remarked that Stark has grown to 111 employees, nearly doubling its workforce as compared to this time last year; most of that increase has been in the form of welders, but they’ve also expanded their portfolio of executive, engineering, and other professional jobs. He also stated that they’re doing all the can to use local materials whenever possible: “One of the opportunities we see locally here is we try to source close to where we’re doing our work,” Ronaldi said. “Right now we’ve got 75 percent of the material cost coming from within two hours of Stark. We’ve tried very hard to share the wealth, as it was.”
Moshe Patel, head of the Israel Missile Defense Organization of the Israel Ministry of Defense, spoke about the joint program, which is funded by the US and Israeli governments in order to help protect them both: “We are combining the defense of Israel with bringing jobs to places like Mississippi,” he said at Monday’s ceremony. “Together it makes a big difference to us. As a government, we are very glad we have this capability here. On one hand, we can expedite our production capability, and on the second hand, money that is allocated us is being brought back to have more jobs in the United States for the defense of Israel. It’s a win-win situation.”
Boaz Levy, IAI executive vice president, spoke of the new system’s vast improvement over previously existing technology: “The Arrow 2 is for a lower altitude,” Levy said. “The Arrow 3 is actually intercepting ballistic threats deep in space.”
“This is one of the most advanced systems in the world, but it needs a canister and we’re manufacturing that canister right here,” Governor Phil Bryant said. “Seventy percent of the materials used in the manufacturing of the canister come from Mississippi, so you’re looking at Mississippi steel and a lot of Mississippi technology that goes in this. . .It is amazing, I think, in the last decade where we have been able to come to protect not only America but the world by our manufacturing.”
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