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ORLANDO-The Iraq war and the military’s demand for new fighting material has prompted Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Orlando Missiles and Fire Control division to plan a summer groundbreaking on a $100-million redevelopment at its Sand Lake Road campus that will include an estimated $50-million, 250,000-sf, six-story office and research building.

The building will be Lockheed’s first office and research location since the defense contractor began developing and testing weaponry on its then 7,300-acre campus in south Orlando, the company says. Most of that land was sold off to private commercial and residential developers over the last 55 years.

The new building will also provide space for Meads International, a joint venture that includes Lockheed. Both companies manufacture military material for use in the Iraq war. Meads is an acronym that stands for Medium Extended Air Defense System.

The $100-million redevelopment includes demolition of a mix of temporary office structures that have housed Lockheed’s and Meads growing engineering staffs over the past three decades, the company says. Lockheed’s engineering staff has grown to 5,635 today from 4,126 in 2000.

“We are preparing for the future,” Stanley R. Arthur, president, Orlando Missiles and Fire Control division, says in a prepared statement. “The issue is trying to sustain our engineering force.”

He adds, “It’s becoming a more competitive environment all the time.”

The Lockheed division has about 880 active military contracts with the bulk of the work headed for Iraq, the company says. The Sand Lake Road plant has booked sales of $1.32 billion annually since 2000, up from $1.12 billion in the 1990s. Payroll has increased to $387 million annually from $267 million.

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