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Charleston County secures 300 defense-related jobs


Elbit's defense products include a portable mortar system designed for smaller military vehicles. Provided/Elbit Systems

More than 300 jobs are coming to the Charleston region under an Israeli-owned defense and homeland security company's latest U.S. expansion.

Gov. Henry McMaster's office announced Nov. 9 that Elbit Systems of America LLC plans to be up and running by next fall along a busy industrial corridor in North Charleston where its corporate neighbors will include Boeing Co. and Mercedes-Benz Vans.

The federal contracting business, which is based in Fort Worth, Texas, was described as a "provider of high-performance products and system solutions" for the defense, homeland security, commercial aviation and medical instrumentation markets.

CEO Raanan Horowitz said the South Carolina expansion builds "on decades of investment and growth in the U.S. defense market." 

"Establishing this facility is part of a strategy to increase Elbit's engineering and manufacturing capabilities in the U.S. and contribute to strengthening America's defense industrial base," he said in prepared remarks.  

The Texas company said in the statement that its North Charleston operation will involve the establishment of a 135,000-square-foot "Ground Combat Vehicle Assembly and Integration Center of Excellence" at 9028 Palmetto Commerce Parkway in the Crosspoint business park, between Ladson and Ashley Phosphate roads.

"In support of contracts awarded to Elbit ... by the Israeli Ministry of Defense ... for the supply of automatic self-propelled howitzer gun systems to the Israeli Defense Forces, the company identified 280 suppliers across South Carolina to provide materials and services to support this effort," it said.

The North Charleston site also will seek out "assembly and integration" work from future programs for the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, the company said.

The S.C. Commerce Department's Coordinating Council for Economic Development said it has approved tax credits that Elbit can claim based on hiring thresholds. Also, Charleston County was awarded a $700,000 grant to help pay for the infrastructure expenses associated with the expansion.

The firm is the U.S. subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd., which is headquartered in Haifia, Israel. The parent company's stock is publicly traded on the Nasdaq stock market. 

Its U.S. operations span seven locations in five states with more than 3,300 employees, including 700 engineers. Its website shows jobs openings, mainly mechanical and technical positions.

"We actively partner with academic institutions, large and small businesses, and customers to advance capabilities and deliver innovation," the company said.

In its latest financial statement, Elbit Systems Ltd. said its revenue climbed 13 percent to $2.4 billion for the first six months of 2021 compared to the same period last year. The figure included sales from its $380 million acquisition on April 6 of Sparton Corp., a Florida company that provides the Navy and allied forces with undersea electronic warfare systems, such as sonar-equipped buoys that detect submarine activity.

More than a decade ago, Elbit Systems formed a South Carolina-based aerial drone system business with U.S. defense giant General Dynamics under the name UAS Dynamics in Fort Mill.

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Contact John McDermott at 843-937-5572 or follow him on Twitter at @byjohnmcdermott

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