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Officials with defense contractor SAIC check out the company's amphibious combat vehicle prototype following its completion last year. The Reston, Va.-based company announced it will relocate to a new site in Berkeley County. Brad Nettles/Staff/File

Defense contractor SAIC is expanding its Berkeley County operations with a new facility that will be able to produce multiple types of vehicles and other equipment for the military.

Reston, Va.-based SAIC, short for Science Applications International Corp., expects to move into a new building at the North Pointe Business Campus in Hanahan by the end of this year.

The company has committed to creating 100 jobs with the expansion but said it hopes to double that within the next five years. SAIC currently employs about 900 workers in the Charleston region.

"The beauty of the new facility is that we're able to design it up front to optimally handle multiple large-scale programs," said Bob Carruthers, senior vice president. "This gives us the facility we need to cover our portfolio."

Among the projects slated for the new site is an upgraded amphibious assault vehicle for the Marine Corps. SAIC previously has built prototypes of the troop transport vehicle at its Magi Road plant in Hanahan and was recently awarded a contract for initial production of 25 vehicles. That contract could lead to the retrofitting of 392 more if the military exercises all of its options.

SAIC also is in the running for initial production of an amphibious combat vehicle for the Marine Corps, which is set to choose a contractor in June.

The new building also will have room for expanded research and development and office space.

A Moody's report in November said relatively small companies like SAIC are better positioned to win military contracts because the Pentagon is looking beyond large businesses like Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin for increased innovation and efficiency.

"Such companies are typically more willing to assume research and development costs without seeking reimbursement, particularly on mid-size programs," according to Moody's. "They also tend to seek out less expensive solutions, such as adapting new technology to existing platforms."

SAIC plans to invest between $26 million and $28.5 million in equipment and other costs at the leased Hanahan site. The company also plans in the short-term to continue renting space on North Rhett Avenue in North Charleston as it analyzes future needs.

Berkeley County Council gave initial approval last week to property tax breaks for the project. The state Coordinating Council for Economic Development also has approved job development tax credits for the new site.

"SAIC has a long legacy of doing business in South Carolina," Tony Moraco, the company's CEO, said in a  written statement. Moraco said the Hanahan site "is a critical component of our long-term strategy."

"We are excited to grow our talented workforce as we continue to address our customers' most critical missions," Moraco said.

SAIC employs about 15,000 workers worldwide. 

Reach David Wren at 843-937-5550 or on Twitter at @David_Wren_