Raytheon's site in Forest is already one of the largest defense manufacturing plants in Mississippi.
"Thanks to Forest, we have delivered more than 500 tactical airborne electronically scanned array radars and that is an industry first," said Rick Yuse, Raytheon president.
Raytheon has received more contracts for the coming months and the Forest facility will get even bigger. The company produces equipment for U.S. and allied forces. Company officials used Veterans Day to announce the 20,000 square foot expansion, which will come with 150 new high skilled jobs.
"Actually, this company manufactures the Sentinel radar system that we use in our Avengers, which is our air defense artillery," said Brig. Gen. Gregory Kennedy of the Mississippi Air National Guard. "So, they're very critical to the operation. They're actually used in the nation's Capitol to provide air defense."
"But most importantly it shows the rest of the world that we can compete," said Gov. Phil Bryant. "There were a lot of states that wanted these jobs and wanted this expansion. They came back to Forest, Mississippi. This is a huge economic impact for us."
Employing people from at least a four to five county area, company officials are optimistic that the additional jobs will only increase that radius.
"It's one of our largest employers," said state Rep. Tom Miles of District 75. "We have over 700 people already and we're adding 150 jobs and these are good high paying jobs and this is going to be tremendous for our area.'
"These are high paying, high impact jobs, high technology jobs," said state Sen. terry C. Burton of District 31. "People say Mississippi can't do it; Forest, Mississippi, has proved we can."
As for the annual expansion work here at the plant in Forest, that's expected to happen sometime after the beginning of the new year. However, company officials say that hiring for those new jobs has already started. As for those new jobs, they're all high skilled and high paying.
There is a potential for as many as 200 jobs to eventually come from this latest development.