OKLAHOMA CITY -- A California-based aerospace company is relocating their next expansion to Oklahoma City, officials say.
Gov. Mary Fallin and U.S. Rep. Steve Russell announced Friday that Kratos Defense and Security Solutions will produce jet-powered unmanned aerial tactical and target drone systems in the Sooner State.
"What they’re getting ready to do right here that we get to participate in is going to be good for the defense of our country for decades to come. Wait’ll you see the cool stuff they make," explained Rep. Russell.
Russell said he met with business officials about the project in 2016.
According to Kratos division president Steven Fendley, the Oklahoma site will employ at least 350 people over the next five years.
"There will be engineering jobs. There will be production jobs and the jobs will include fiber glass, carbon glass, composites, manufacturing and tailoring," said Fendley. "We looked at why it would be good for the business, we looked at the ability to recruit talent here. We looked at the friendliness of the community with respect to the defense business."
Kratos will initially work at a 8,800 square-foot facility in Oklahoma City near Tinker Air Force Base. The focus there will be on engineering and production planning. Within six months, the company plans to expand into a 75,000 square-foot facility to support its initial production efforts in Oklahoma.
According to Gov. Mary Fallin, aerospace is one of the largest industries in the state.
"It brings over $24 billion in our economy with over 200,000 people that work skills related to aviation, aerospace, and defense," explained Gov. Fallin.
This is not the first aerospace company to land in Oklahoma; however, once hoping to soar in the tourism business, Rocketplane filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2010.
Fendley said they're confident this will not be the case for Kratos.
"The unmanned division in the last month for example, has already won two bids for production of unmanned aircrafts in this class -- the unmanned jet aircraft. One for $93 million, one for $23 million," he told News 4.
Kratos will continue target drone production from its existing Sacramento, California facility.