Saab Barracuda broke ground Monday on a new, expanded production facility.
The company is the only provider of high-tech camouflage netting to the Armed Forces. The nets make soldiers invisible to sight, radar, infrared and thermal detection in wooded areas and in the desert.
"Not only does it protect you from enemy sensors, but it's also more user-friendly," project leader Russ Clingman said.
In December, the company received a contract calling for up to $240 million worth of the high-tech fabric over the next five years.
"The soldiers need our product and we are happy to be in a position to provide them with what they need to be able to protect themselves," said Robert Martin, acting president at Saab Barracuda.
As a result, the contract will result in about 80 new jobs at the plant -- a move that economic leaders say is a step in the right direction when it comes to improving the area's economic base.
"We are trying to keep them in the county, so they can have a better quality of life and not spend so much time commuting," Lee Anne Nance, of the Economic Development Commission.
It will take about four years to make the thousands of nets ordered in the new contract.
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