Air Force contract expected to bring 6K aerospace jobs to Palmdale

Leo Stallworth Image
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Air Force contract expected to bring thousands of aerospace jobs to Palmdale
Thousands of jobs are expected to come to U.S. Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale after the Air Force announced a $55 billion contract with Northrop Grumman on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015.

PALMDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- An announcement by the Air Force on Tuesday could mean thousands of new jobs coming to Southern California.

The Air Force awarded a $55 billion contract to Northrop Grumman to build a new stealth aircraft that will replace the B-52 bomber.

It's an announcement Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford hopes will help an unemployment rate just above 8 percent, as more than 6,000 new aerospace jobs could be coming to the community.

"This is great news for the Antelope Valley, and in particular, Palmdale," Ledford said. "This is where all the primes are located at U.S. Air Force Plant 42 and this kind of program is going to get us back on track as far as our employment levels and our small business development in our community. Everybody wins in this project."

Building military planes is nothing new to the Antelope Valley, but it's been decades since the aerospace industry in the high desert has landed a multi-billion dollar contract to build a new fleet of military aircraft.

The news has many in the area like Sarah Tyndall of Lancaster thrilled at the possibilities.

"This is going to bring so many jobs to the Antelope Valley and we're going to have a true Antelope Valley aerospace valley again," Tyndall, whose father and grandfather worked at Plant 42 years ago, said. "This is going to make our economy thrive and it'll be like it was in the late 70s and early 80s when I was growing up here."

Northrop Grumman will be tasked with developing and building 100 new long-range stealth bombers.

The majority of the work is expected to be completed at Plant 42 in Palmdale, which is a 5,800 acre industrial park owned by the military, but leased to aerospace contractors.

Palmdale Aerospace Academy Headmaster Laura Herman said she hopes the contract is just the beginning of future work coming to the aerospace community in Palmdale.

"It's all of the pieces of the puzzle that fit into an overall kind of STEM engineering focus," Herman said. "These kinds of opportunities in the community gives us a great chance to plug our students in to what might come next for them when they graduate."