Contributing to the fight

Published 10:01 pm Monday, June 18, 2012

A new kind of stealth technology could help contribute to the viability of what is becoming a very visible industry in Suffolk. Already known in some circles as Pentagon South for its contingency of acronymed military commands and the private contractors who support them, Suffolk’s Harbour View area, in particular, is about to take on an even greater role in the defense of America.

Cobham Composite Products has begun to ramp up production for a specialized piece of equipment for the U.S. Air Force that will do the sort of thing heretofore only imagined in science fiction. The Miniature Air-Launched Decoy Jammer is a device weighing less than 300 pounds that can be flown nearly 600 miles from base and then configured to appear on enemy radar as just about anything military planners would like it to be.

Whether it’s putting ersatz bombers in the air to give cover to the real ones in another place or masking the number of real fighters being deployed on a target, there will be many opportunities for this new technology to come to the aid of America’s warriors.

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While Cobham gets ready to build the next batch of MALD-Js, there is no way yet to know just how extensive the final contract will be. Company officials have said that if future contracts are funded, the company workforce could triple. That would, of course, be excellent news for Suffolk, whose residents could find themselves in high demand as new jobs come to town.

But we suspect many of Suffolk’s citizens agree that a side benefit to the city’s increasing level of military support is the simple opportunity it gives us to do something to help keep our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines safe in an increasingly dangerous world.