Raytheon [RTN] recently broke ground for a new approximately $70 million missile integration facility on Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.

When it is completed, the facility will provide final assembly and testing for Raytheon’s Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) and Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) missiles, though the site could work with other missiles in the future.

Raytheon Chairman and CEO Bill Swanson said “partnership is what he thinks of when considering the new missile facility. It is “one of the largest investments in the company’s history, and the largest since I’ve been CEO,” he said of the facility. The project wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of partners in industry, the military and the political spheres, he added.

Swanson spoke before an audience that included the president of Raytheon Missile Systems, the Missile Defense Agency Director, politicians from all levels of government, plus more than 500 people watching streaming video on line.

Raytheon Missile Systems president Taylor Lawrence said the new 70,000 square foot facility will house “the most advanced, automated” missile making facility in the world.

Situated on 200 acres, there’s space for future expansion and opens the door to serve multiple product lines, he said. Raytheon was first licensed to do business in the state in 1948.

The SM-3 and SM-6 missiles have gone through decades of program development and incremental evolution, improvements and upgrades, Lawrence said. SM-3 is part of the Missile Defense Agency’s sea-based Aegis ballistic missile defense system, and the administration’s Phased Adaptive Approach to European ballistic missile defense.

The SM-3 missiles are deployed on U.S.Navy cruisers and destroyers and Japanese destroyers to defend against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missile threats in the ascent and midcourse phases of flight. The SM-3 has been delivered early and on budget, with 19 successful interceptions to date, including an April 13 launch.

The SM-6 is an extended range anti-air warfare missile, with an active seeker. Fired from navy ships, SM-6 provides over the horizon capabilities against fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and cruise missiles. Five of the first missiles on order have been delivered. Testing at sea will be conducted this summer.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R) said, “This new Raytheon factory means more jobs for Alabama and is a clear demonstration of Raytheon’s strong partnership with the state.”

Lawrence said Raytheon chose the Huntsville site in part because of the skilled workforce, and Gov. Robert Bentley (R) said aerospace is the next phase of diversification in the state.