Iraq Conflict, Local Effort

For the past 19 years Raytheon Systems in Forest has not only been a major employer for Scott County, but also for at least four other counties in the area. With almost 700 employees, Raytheon is the only supplier in the nation for some special radar and radio systems for the military.

"These sentinel radar are used for air surveillance. They actually look for low flying targets. They used them on Sept. 11 in Washington D-C. They also used them in the Olympics in Atlanta," said Steve Coleman, who is a product focus team manager at Raytheon.

Meanwhile, other radar made at the facility have the capability to spot "enemy fire," such as a mille. Locate precisely where the missile came from and in a matter of seconds, fire back.

Aside from radar, the Forest facility also manufactures a special radio system, which can pinpoint where friendly and enemy troops are positioned on the battlefield. Again, the Forest facility is the only plant in the nation, which manufactures these special, Enhanced Position Location Reporting Systems, also known as "EPLR."

As the nation braces for a possible attack on Iraq, Congressman Chip Pickering says an attack would have a definite impact on the Forest plant.

"As we look to build up for Iraq and homeland security, this product that we make in Forest and other products that we make in Forest and Mississippi, those are all likely to increase," Pickering said.

Along with this increase Congressman Pickering is projecting an increase in jobs at the Forest plant. As it stands, he says within the next three to five years anywhere from two to three hundred new jobs could be added at the plant.