Lockheed Martin’s Marietta facility will open a training center this summer aimed at preparing pilots and crews to operate aircraft models produced at the Cobb plant.
The Hercules Training Center, according to company documents, will feature academic classroom space, training devices and full-motion simulator facilities to train those who pilot or serve on the crew of the C-130J Super Hercules military tactical airlifter and LM-100J commercial multi-purpose air freighter. Both aircraft are built at the Marietta facility.
The 7,000-square-foot training center was first announced in September 2015 and broke ground in June 2016. It is being developed and will be managed by the company’s Rotary and Mission Systems business unit. The Marietta plant is part of Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics unit; both units will work together in support of the center. A grand opening for the center is set to occur in June, according to Kayla Stanley, spokesperson for the Rotary and Mission Systems unit.
Lockheed Martin’s Marietta plant employs more than 5,000, putting it consistently in Cobb’s top 10 largest employers, according to figures compiled by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. So far, according to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics spokesperson Stephanie Stinn, the training center has led to seven new hires for the company, though a total of 20 new employees are expected moving forward.
Its impact to the county, Stinn said, will be in helping Lockheed Martin remain “a longtime economic driver” for Cobb, Georgia and the Southeast.
“Any additional business opportunities that we can offer at the facility ultimately contribute to Cobb County’s business community and economy,” Stinn said. “While we can’t directly pinpoint the anticipated economic impact at this time, we do believe the training center and the capabilities it brings to the aviation industry further elevate Cobb County’s and Georgia’s reputation as a leading contributor to the global aviation community.”
The Hercules Training Center will focus on two aircraft with roots deep in Marietta’s modern history.
The C-130J Super Hercules is the latest model of the C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft, which began production in 1954 and is the longest continuously running military production line in history, with every production C-130 having been built in Marietta. In December 2015, the company announced the Marietta plant had delivered its 2,500th C-130.
Today, the C-130 is among the fleets of air forces of 18 countries and has the ability to transport more than 40,000 pounds of cargo and supplies. The first C-130J was delivered in 1998 and since then more than 375 C-130Js have been completed, according to company data released this month.
Based on the C-130J Super Hercules, the first model of the commercial variant LM-100J took flight last year. The LM-100J is capable of everything that the C-130J is, from humanitarian relief to oil spill response, firefighting and more. Other potential uses include medevac/air ambulance and VIP transport.
The civil aircraft is aimed at those who currently operate the company’s L-100s, the commercial variant of the first generation C-130. Among those who operate L-100s include government entities and private freight companies.
Sharon Mason, president and CEO of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, says the impending opening of the Hercules Training Center would be a win not only for Lockheed, but for the Cobb community at large.
“It will help meet the global training demands to continue expanding Lockheed’s investment in training the next workforce generation and will be a tremendous asset to their customers to have this training center and production in the same location,” Mason said. “We are proud to have Lockheed in Marietta and look forward to continue supporting them in this investment for our community.”