A military deal half a world away means more jobs in Marietta. Lockheed-Martin will soon be hiring.
South Korea’s air force has signed up to buy 40 F-35s with an option for 20 more of the fifth-generation stealth fighters, the eleventh country to buy into the Joint Strike Fighter program. Right now, some 330 Marietta employees are working on the F-35 program. But over the next five years, that number will almost triple.
“We’ll be able to employ a thousand people here in Marietta, working strictly on the F-35 program,” Lockheed-Martin Director of Communications Johnny Whitaker.
That is an additional 700 jobs.
Most of them will work on building the backbone of the F-35, a 1200 pound skeleton called the center wing assembly. Other F-35 workers will coat some of the fighter’s surfaces with a special material that absorbs radar rather than reflecting it, enhancing the JSF’s stealth capability.
The majority of the new hires will be in place by sometime between 2018 and 2019, Whitaker said.
Their employment at the Marietta facility will add hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy, he predicted. Lockheed-Martin employs approximately 6600 people in Marietta. Together with its contractors, Lockheed-Martin contributes approximately $1 billion to the Georgia economy.