Defense company opens Suffolk facility

Published 9:37 pm Friday, April 3, 2009

Suffolk has further solidified its status as “Pentagon South” with the recent move of Northrop Grumman Corp. into a new 30,00-square-foot, three-story building on Harbour View Blvd.

The new building includes a classified, state-of-the-art simulation and communications laboratory that will provide research, development and integration for training and communications projects throughout the United States, according to company officials.

“This facility will allow Northrop Grumman to centralize numerous activities that were previously scattered throughout the local area and the country,” said Keith Beavers, vice president of the company’s Advanced Warfighting Solutions business unit.

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“It will provide direct synergies between many of our projects, accelerating development and enhancing effectiveness in a location that is at the heart of future joint warfighting capabilities.”

According to a press release announcing the move, the company will consolidate about 60 employees from three existing offices in the area and intends to hire up to 25 simulation systems engineers in the coming months.

Among other things, Northrop Grumman in the Suffolk area supports the Joint Forces Command’s Joint Warfighting Center, which provides realistic, cost-effective training for joint forces.

The new office is located near the JFC headquarters in the heart of a major growth area for military training and simulation. It will support contracts in the entire Hampton Roads region, as well as providing management control for contracts well beyond the area.

“Northrop Grumman’s decision to expand their operations in Suffolk is a true testament of how our city and region are contributing to the success and growth of the modeling and simulation community,” Suffolk Mayor Linda T. Johnson said in a city press release.

“We believe that this location is a perfect fit for Northrop Grumman’s expansion, and we will work hard to support them as they continue to grow in our city.”

Company officials praised the city’s work in helping the project come to fruition.

“The level of collaboration and cooperation between Northrop Grumman, the city of Suffolk and its agencies and Suffolk Towers LLC, the building owner, has made this a most pleasant build-to-suit enterprise,” Beavers said. “We look forward to a long and prosperous future in Suffolk.”

With about 33,000 employees in facilities across the state, Northrop Grumman is the largest private employer in Virginia, city officials said. The company recently opened a new office in Charlottesville and expects to conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony soon for a new facility on Wallops Island.