Richland Township, Cambria County, Pa - Lockheed Martin AeroParts announced it is leasing a new facility to expand production.
40 new jobs will be added to finish work on F-35 fighters for the military. Production will ramp up soon. 66 fighters are expected to be delivered in 2017. Lockheed Martin is expected to double that number in 2018.
The new contract will also add indirect jobs.
"We're going to be leasing spaces, we're going to be buying equipment. We're going to be building some of the equipment. It's a spinoff for everyone when we're able to get work here in Johnstown," said Gilda Jackson, President & GM of Lockheed Martin.
Eugene Nichols has worked for Lockheed for 27 years. He's excited for the new contract because he said they worked hard to earn it.
"Just finally getting recognized that we're the go-to place here in Johnstown. If you want something done, you send it here and it'll get done in a very quick timeframe and under cost," said Nichols, the lead painter at Lockheed Martin.
The increase in national defense spending and Lockheed's new contract have other defense companies in the area excited. They said Johnstown is making a name for itself as a hub for defense companies, which will only boost the economy in the area.
"As we expand and as the F-35 expands, we expect that there will be more work coming. This is, I think, the beginning of a long-term relationship with the F-35 and with the community," Jackson said.
Pennsylvania lawmakers were also excited to know that jobs will be added to the Johnstown region.
Sen. Pat Toomey: "This announcement by Lockheed Martin is great news for our troops and re-affirmation that Johnstown remains an integral part of our nation's defense manufacturing industry. This expansion creates good paying jobs in Johnstown and it acknowledges that the local workforce is well-suited to make the world's best equipment and resources for those keeping us safe."
Rep. Keith Rothfus: "Lockheed's decision to increase production rates for the F-35 will result in new well-paying jobs in Johnstown. This is tremendous news for our local community. Western Pennsylvania built this country and Johnstown has long been a leader in providing support to our war fighters. After years of decline under the Obama Administration, President T rump is stepping up to make our military strong again."
Lockheed Martin officials said they first need to find a bigger production space. Then they hope to hire 10-15 new employees as early as this fall.