Northrop Grumman has broken ground on a new engineering and hypersonic production facility at Elkton in Maryland, US.

The new Hypersonic Center of Excellence (CoE) is being built to support the US military and its allies from emerging threats.

Northrop noted that the new 60,000ft² facility will be equipped with advanced production technology and employ digital engineering best practices.

This will enable the company to rapidly address changes in either technology or customer mission requirements.

It will support the design, development, production and integration of hypersonic weapons.

Construction of the CoE is expected to be completed by 2023.

Northrop Grumman missile products vice-president Rebecca Torzone said: “Hypersonic weapons protect our warfighters by offering higher speeds, longer ranges, optimal performance and the ability to combat a threat with as much distance in between them and the threat as possible.

“Our new hypersonics production facility will optimize our development efficiency, drive affordability, and ultimately deliver weapons to our warfighters faster.”

Northrop also intends to automate case preparation and non-destructive inspection at the facility.

Furthermore, the company said it will deploy autonomous guided vehicles to enhance safety and reliability.

According to the company, these developments at its Elkton facility will increase the demand for technically skilled labour and help generate high-salaried jobs and other professional roles.

Since 1948, Northrop’s Elkton campus has been engaged in aerothermal research and testing facility.

It designs and manufactures systems and controls for the most complex defence and space systems of the US.