Northrop Grumman's Expansion

The groundbreaking of one expansion project and the symbolic start of another brought quite a crowd to Northrop Grumman Ship Systems on Saturday.

Officials hope these two projects will a positive impact on the county's economic growth.

Makin Island is Ingalls newest ship. Historically, the keel laying represents laying the ship's backbone. For our worker's in attendance, it's their backbone, along with a lot of hard work, that will make these beams into a ship.

"It represents many many hundreds of shipyard workers who will be engaged in building another ship over a three year period of time," said Philip Dur, Director of Northrop Grumman Ship Systems.

Lt. Governor Amy Tuck echoed those sentiments during a groundbreaking ceremony held immediately after the keel laying.

"The economic benefits are going to be tremendous. The 43 million dollar commitment that we made in bonds to this project will provide additional jobs," Tuck said.

State leaders, together with representatives from Northrop Grumman have pledged 224 million dollars to the expansion project.

"They're showing a lot of vision," said Mississippi Senator Trent Lott

Senator Trent Lott is continuing his lobbying efforts for this expansion in Washington and wants to attend many more keel layings at Ingalls in the future.

"Over the last three years, he has worked tirelessly to get the appropriations we needed to get this ship under contract," said Dur.

by Claire Nelson