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Missile launch tubes

General Dynamics of Lincoln has made more than a million missile launch tubes. The one pictured here is a Tomahawk launch tube. The local plant also produces external fuel tanks for aircraft, rocket motor cases, missile airframe components and pressure vessels, according to the company's website.

A defense contractor has announced plans to expand its operations in Lincoln.

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems announced Thursday that it will break ground later this month on a 50,000-square-foot expansion of its manufacturing plant at 4300 Industrial Ave., which is near 27th and Superior streets. The plant currently has about 150,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space.

The company said the purpose of the expansion, which should be complete before the end of the year, is mainly to accommodate additional manufacturing space, but it will also include office space, a break room and a secure employee entrance.

The Lincoln plant, which has been in operation since 1963 and owned by General Dynamics since 2002, makes composite rocket motor cases, missile launch tubes, pressure vessels and other structures for the defense and aerospace industries.

The company said that the expansion is driven by increasing demand for high-priority U.S. Department of Defense programs and will position the Lincoln plant for continued growth.

“This expansion is a direct result of the capability and dedication of the people that work at (General Dynamics') Lincoln Operations and the confidence that our customers have in our continued ability to live up to our long-standing reputation for meeting their most challenging needs and being the best at what we do,” said Tim Ek, general manager of the Lincoln operations.

Ek said it's the first physical expansion of the Lincoln plant since the early 1980s.

"It's a big deal, and we're excited about the fact we're expanding here," he said.

The company did not say how much it was spending on the expansion. A nearly $2 million building permit was filed earlier this month.

Ek said the company already has been hiring additional employees in preparation for the expansion.

"We're staffing up now to be ready to hit the ground running once the (new) facility opens up," he said.

General Dynamics would not say how many people work at the Lincoln plant, but it did say in a news release that by the end of this year, its employment numbers will have increased by 120 people over 2017 levels.

An official groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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