The state’s Space Florida organization will kick in $5 million to rebuild a site at Cape Canaveral that will be used by the Navy to test submarine missile systems, a project that will bring up to 100 jobs to the area in the next three years, reports David Royse of the News Service of Florida.
Space Florida announced Thursday that the jobs created by the project will have average annual salaries of $90,000 and that most of the outsourced work will also be done locally.
A 1950s-era missile testing complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station will be refurbished for the new “Strategic Weapons System Ashore” facility, which will conduct all land-based testing of the Navy’s submarine-fired missile systems. Currently, launch systems, fire control, guidance and navigation, and the actual missiles themselves, are all tested at separate locations. The new program will combine them at Cape Canaveral.
“We are working hard to ensure defense programs have the resources they need to call Florida home,” said Gov. Rick Scott, who went to Cape Canaveral Thursday to announce the project.
Construction is expected to start later this year and be completed in 2015.
“This area’s existing space industry infrastructure, combined with our highly-skilled technical workforce, sets Florida apart from other states,” said Frank DiBello, president of Space Florida, which said the already-trained local workforce was part of the reason the Navy chose the site.
Also on Thursday, Scott sent a letter to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urging careful consideration of automatic defense budget cuts, known as “sequester cuts” that are set to go into effect in January unless Congress can find a way to avert them.
“In examining the potential consequences of sequestration, it is devastating to see the impact that such dramatic defense cuts will have on Florida’s growing economy,” Scott said. “In the first year alone, more than 39,000 Floridians could lose their jobs because of the automatic cuts under sequestration according to a Center for Regional Analysis study.”
State officials say defense spending supports more than 680,000 jobs in Florida.