Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Eagan, Minn. and Keyport, Wash. cooperate on $758 million upgrade to Navy war subs

by June 22nd, 2011

The U.S. Department of Defense announced this week that the Eagan, Minn. unit of defense contractor Lockheed Martin has won a contract worth up to $758 million to retrofit Navy submarines with new combat and sonar components. According to the DoD announcement, the Lockheed division in Eagan will design, produce, install and support displays, workstations, processors and network systems on the subs. The contracting agency is the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Keyport, Wash., which tests, evaluates, maintains, prepares and updates Navy war submarines. The DoD announcement states that 99 percent of the work will be done in Eagan, and is expected to be completed by June 2012.

A Lockheed Martin spokesperson confirms the company is still planning to shutter not later than the first quarter of 2013 its Eagan facility and consolidate its functions with sites in other states. Eagan makes hardware engineering for workstations, as well as computing infrastructure and avionics products and systems. Lockheed is closing the plant to save an estimated $150 million over 10 years. “It was a shock but it didn’t feel like the end of the world because of the robustness of our region’s economy” and the caliber of employers and employees in the area, said Ruthe Batulis, President of the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce in Eagan.

Currently 900 people are employed by the company in Eagan, according to Lockheed. That’s down from a high of about 3,000 in the late 90s. Though as already announced, about 250 layoffs were planned starting this March, many of the current employees are being offered transfers to other Lockheed locations in New York state, Virginia and southern California. However, Batulis said that often in such cases, “people want to stay here, because of the quality of life” despite the challenge of having to find a new job. One potential bright spot for Eagan employees of Lockheed Martin who opt out of relocation offers is a planned expansion of the technical workforce at Goodrich Sensors and Integrated Systems in Burnsville, Batulis said.

As Eagan Patch reported in late April, the real estate developer CSM Corp. is planning to purchase the 623,000 square foot Lockheed property in Eagan and has begun evaluating possible uses of the site. According to a report in the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal, “plans could include creating a larger data center and a large scale mixed-use redevelopment of the site, including retail, restaurant, office and other uses.” The purchase would include an adjoining 51 acre site.

Matt Rosenberg is founder and editor of Public Data Ferret, a project of the non-profit Public Eye Northwest.

Technology Insertion hardware for U.S. Navy war submarines/Lockheed Martin

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