November 17, 2011 at 4:14 AM EST - Updated June 25 at 10:31 PM
RIVIERA BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Lockheed Martin is adding dozens of workers for a project that's making waves in Riviera Beach. The company is joining forces with the state to develop the technology that will allow them to hire more hiring engineers, manufacturers and project managers.
It all centers around the Marlin, a 10-foot long, remote controlled small submarine. The technology was designed for use by the military but now it's being adapted for commercial use. Manufacturing the Marlin will bring 50 new jobs to Lockheed Martin's facility in Riviera Beach.
The Marlin uses sonar technology to create 3D images of what it sees. It can examine oil platforms, monitor environmental conditions and check port security. Richard Holmberg, Lockheed Martin's vice president, says manufacturing this in Riviera Beach is the best choice.
"We have direct access to the Intracoastal and within 30 minutes, we're out in 100 foot or deeper, clear water right there out in front of Palm Beach Island where we can test, not only this system, but other systems that we're developing for the United States Navy," he explained.
The project is moving forward with $3 million in incentives from the state's Space Florida Board, which is designed to create private sector jobs in Florida.
"The governor and I realize, from the Panhandle all the way down to South Florida, we have that skilled workforce," said Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, "and we are selling that to companies within the state and outside of the state to let them know the capabilities that we have with our workforce."
Local leaders expect the project could add even more jobs.
Hopefully when you have things like this – the Marlin – it will create and bring in other manufacturers and products that can be sold to actually enhance this," said Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor, "so I just see this as a win- win situation for Riviera Beach and for the county."
"We're very active in our schools, our churches and our community and the more folks that we can bring in to join our team, we think that's a huge benefit to the community," added Holmberg.
Lockheed Martin already has two Marlins in production. The company says it's already seen interest from some oil rig and gas companies. It expects that interest to continue and for more Marlins to be built in Riviera Beach.