Northrop Grumman’s presence in the East Valley is growing.

Just months after opening its 633,000 square foot Launch Vehicles Division Headquarters in Chandler, Northrop Grumman broke ground on a 220,000 square foot expansion project for its satellite manufacturing operations in Gilbert, which the company said will result in adding approximately 200 new employees over the next three years.

“This expansion marks another step forward in solidifying our Gilbert site as a state-of-the-art facility that provides high quality, high reliability space hardware in support of our domestic and international customers,” said Frank DeMauro, general manager and Vice President for Northrop Grumman’s Tactical Space Systems. “We could not ask for better partners than the Town of Gilbert.”

On hand for the groundbreaking were Gilbert mayor Jenn Daniels, Arizona State Representative Jennifer Pawlik and a host of Town of Gilbert staff.

The two-building expansion project will be in the Gilbert Spectrum development, next to its current satellite manufacturing and engineering operations on the Southwest corner of McQueen and Elliot roads in Gilbert. Graycor Construction Company Inc. will build a new, two-story, 120,000 square foot office building, which will serve as satellite manufacturing division headquarters, as well as the 100,000 square foot addition to the manufacturing facility. The development is owned by SunCap Property Group and Northrop Grumman will lease the buildings. Chris Keeler, Gilbert site lead for Northrop Grumman, said the office building is expected to be completed by December of 2020 and the manufacturing facility will be done by Q2 of 2021. Balmer Architectural Group and Gensler are the architects on the project.

“The construction will have no impact on our current operations,” Keeler said. “How we ingress and egress, bring in and execute, it will all be isolated from the expansion. There will be some minor tie-ins going in, but primarily, it’s going to be a stand-alone structure.”

The Gilbert Campus produces satellites for a variety of domestic and international customers. Northrop Grumman’s satellite business began in Gilbert in the early 1990’s and has grown with a state-of-the-art facility that provides design, manufacturing, assembly, integration and testing in support of high profile satellite missions. Programs under production include critical science missions such as NASA’s Landsat 9 and Joint Polar Satellite System satellites in addition to other programs that support our national security.

“Arizona is proud to be a leader in aerospace and defense, and Northrop Grumman is a big part of that success,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement. “(This expansion) will mean more good jobs in fields like engineering, manufacturing and technology. We’re grateful for their continued investment and expansion in Arizona.”

The expansion will double the current production capacity at the satellite manufacturing facility, which is one of the largest and most advanced satellite assembly and test facilities in the United States. The new administrative and engineering building will be a two-story structure that will complement the existing office facility built in 2017.

The expansion will make Northrop Grumman’s footprint in Arizona well over 1 million square feet. The Launch Vehicles Division in Chandler currently employs 1,906 people, and with 200 people expected to be added to the Gilbert operations, that will bring the total to 700 employees for the satellite operations. Northrop Grumman also employs 235 at its Armament Systems operations in Mesa.