Lockheed Martin has decided to establish a hypersonics production facility in Courtland, northern Alabama.

An official ceremony setting the stage for the expansion of the Courtland facility, was attended by Lockheed Martin officials, and representatives from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, US Army, US Air Force and US Navy.

The new facility will serve as the hub for assembly, integration and testing for the company’s hypersonics programmes.

Lockheed Martin has also stated that the management and engineering team supporting the programme will be based in Huntsville.

The expansion will involve the construction of two new buildings. It will lead to the creation of 272 new jobs over the next three years, which includes 72 that will go to Courtland and the remainder to Huntsville.

Lockheed Martin Strategic and Missile Defense vice-president and general manager Scott Keller said: “The decision to bring hypersonic manufacturing to this region would not have been possible without the support of the state of Alabama, our local partners, including Lawrence and Madison counties, the cities of Courtland and Huntsville and Tennessee Valley Authority, as well as those elected representatives in Congress.

“On behalf of Lockheed Martin, we are honoured to expand our presence in Northern Alabama and watch as the next cohort of innovators take advanced defence technology to levels we once thought were impossible.”

The company has previously partnered with Alabama state on research and development in areas such as rockets, tactical missiles, space launch vehicles, and missile defence targets.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said: “Lockheed Martin has a longstanding relationship with the state of Alabama, and I am proud to see that strengthen even more as they make our state the flagship location for their hypersonic programmes.”

The US DoD is planning to procure hypersonic weapons that can travel at more than 60 miles per minute.

Last month, Lockheed Martin won a contract from the US Army to develop and integrate a land-based hypersonic strike prototype.

The contract is part of a multi-year hypersonic weapons development.