Defense contractor BAE in Anniston gets more work
by Patrick McCreless
pmccreless@annistonstar.com
Dec 01, 2012 | 5217 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
More work is coming to an Anniston military contractor that slashed jobs almost two months ago due to insufficient workloads.

BAE Systems, the world’s second-largest defense contractor, recently received a $37.6 million U.S. Army vehicle upgrade contract for its Anniston facility. While the contract will not restore any of the 145 Anniston BAE jobs cut in 2012, it did keep projected layoffs this year from being even greater.

According to a press release Friday from BAE, the company received the contract from the Letterkenny Army Depot in Pennsylvania. Under the contract, which will last through January 2014, BAE will provide the spare parts and kits needed to convert 250 RG33 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles into Medium Mine Protected Vehicles or MMPV, a state-of-the-art wheeled military vehicle.

The spare parts and kits will be assembled by the existing workforce at the BAE Systems facility in Anniston.

During a phone interview Friday, Shannon Booker, spokeswoman for BAE Systems, said the contract will not restore any area jobs lost this year, but will keep more workers from being laid off.

“The contract helped to mitigate some of the projected job losses of 2012,” Booker said.

BAE Systems announced in September that it will close its Anniston vehicle upgrade and overhaul facility on Coleman Road by Dec. 31, laying off 145 workers in the process. The company said the closure is needed due to a decrease in the use of military tracked combat vehicles, which has resulted in lower requirements for vehicle maintenance. Workers at the closing BAE facility perform upgrades and overhauls on the military’s M113 and M88 armored vehicles.

BAE Systems still has 371 employees at its other Anniston facility.

As part of the new contract, the company will provide a rear ramp, used for the deployment of remotely operated unmanned ground vehicles in route and area clearance missions and a new heating and air conditioning system for the vehicle. The MMPV has a V-shaped hull that provides superior blast protection against symmetrical, asymmetrical and unconventional explosives hazards. The wheeled vehicle also has a large modular interior, high mobility chassis and extensive equipment options. Other soldier-friendly features include large bullet-resistant windows and a 360-degree situational awareness suite.

“BAE Systems has a long history in vehicle conversions and modernizations,” Robert Houston, vice president and deputy general manager of Weapon Systems and Support at BAE Systems, said in the press release. “Our work on the MMPV program will not only increase the capabilities of the vehicle, but will also further strengthen our partnership with the Letterkenny Army Depot.”

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.
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