ITT Exelis recently announced that it has officially opened its full-service mine defense production facility in Panama City, Fla. 

 “With this new building, we will be better positioned to provide mine defense capabilities to the U.S. Navy and a growing number of allies,” explained Rich Sorelle, acting president of the Exelis Electronic Systems division. 

Systems produced by Exelis are heavily used by the U.S. Navy and allied forces to find and clear multiple types of sea mines during mine-clearing operations.  Naval forces depend on mine defense systems to clear sea mines from strategic waterways, which carry 90% of international trade.    

The Exelis multiple-influence sweep systems are towed at high speeds through deep-ocean and littoral waters by helicopters, minesweeping ships or are remotely operated during mine-clearance operations.

The Exelis mine defense business relocated from Amityville, N.Y. to Panama City, Fla. in 2005 with only a few employees.  Since then, the business has grown to nearly 100 employees who develop and integrate minesweeping systems for the U.S. Navy and allied naval forces, such as the United Kingdom, South Korea and Japan.

The company, a global aerospace, defense and information solutions company is headquartered in McLean, Va., and employs about 20,500 people. In 2011 the company generated sales of $5.8 billion.