Plasan of Bennington part of $1.05 billion armored vehicle contract
A Bennington, Vermont, defense contractor is part of a billion-dollar US Military contract to build more armored vehicles for use in Afghanistan. The Plasan North America plant is expected to hire 200 workers to fulfill the contract, while the deal could also generate another 100 new jobs with subcontractors in the region.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced Tuesday it has selected Oshkosh Corporation to supply MRAP All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV) for its fighting forces. Oshkosh has received an initial delivery order from the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) for 2,244 M-ATVs valued at $1.05 billion, following months of government testing on multiple production-ready vehicles. Oshkosh Defense teamed with Plasan North America, with a plant in Bennington for the M-ATV armor system to provide an advanced armor solution. Plasan also developed the armor system used on more than 5,000 legacy MRAPs and thousands of Oshkosh Armored Cab MTVRs already in theater.
Governor Douglas said in a written statement: “I would like to extend congratulations to Plasan North America for being part of the winning contract team with Oshkosh Corporation for a $1 billion order of armored vehicles for the U.S. military.
“In 2006, I was pleased to personally welcome Plasan to Vermont after our economic development team helped recruit them to the Bennington area. Without the Vermont Economic Progress Council’s decision to approve Plasan for tax credits totaling more than $1 million, the company may have located elsewhere. The granting of $1.16 million loan and a further guarantee of $500,000 line of credit by the Vermont Economic Development Authority, or VEDA, also helped secure Plasan’s commitment to Vermont.
“Recruiting this kind of good-paying, high technology manufacturing company is a key component of my economic development strategy, and this contract will be a tremendous benefit to Plasan and the Bennington area. This really demonstrates the effectiveness of our job creation incentive programs. While we obviously don’t have the resources other larger states do, we can compete for companies like Plasan if we have the tools.”
Robert G. Bohn, Oshkosh Corporation chairman and chief executive officer said: “We are proud that Oshkosh was chosen to provide its M-ATV offering to the U.S. Armed Forces. Our M-ATV design combines the crew protection warfighters have come to expect in MRAP vehicles with the extreme mobility and durability needed to negotiate Afghanistan’s mountainous off-road terrain.”
“Due to the urgent need of our Armed Forces for a survivable and highly mobile vehicle, our Corporation’s number one priority is meeting the Department’s accelerated delivery schedule of the Oshkosh M-ATV. Oshkosh Corporation will put whatever resources are necessary to meet or exceed the government’s delivery schedule. While we believe we can meet or exceed the government’s current delivery requirements, we intend to enter into discussions with other manufacturers to determine if they can assist in the production of the Oshkosh M-ATV.”
Bohn went on to say, “As we begin supplying our advanced, high-performance vehicles, our full-service aftermarket support network will be available with replacement parts, technical support, and repair or refurbishment services. If demands for technology or component upgrades should arise, our team is ready to deliver.”
Andy Hove, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president, Defense said, “Much has already been done to ensure we can meet the government’s delivery schedule. In recognition of the urgent need, we began daily production of Oshkosh M-ATVs on our flexible manufacturing line a few weeks ago. We and our suppliers have already made significant investments in materials and are well positioned to accelerate our manufacturing capabilities.”
The Oshkosh Defense investments, planning and engineering activities, and production of M-ATVs in advance of this award will allow for accelerated delivery of the Oshkosh M-ATV, with initial vehicles available to TACOM LCMC in July.
In order to achieve the off-road mobility that soldiers and Marines need in Afghanistan, Oshkosh integrated its TAK-4 independent suspension system onto the vehicle.
As further testament to the government’s confidence in this suspension system, the company recently received a supply order to equip more than 1,500 legacy MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) with the TAK-4 system and continues to work with the Army to evaluate using the system on additional legacy MRAP models. The TAK-4 suspension system is used on more than 10,000 Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements (MTVR) supplied to the Marines and Seabees, as well as on the Marines’ Logistics Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR) and the Army’s next-generation Palletized Load System (PLS).
Oshkosh performed more than 7,500 miles of independent off-road testing to identify possible enhancements to the vehicle so it would meet or surpass the performance requirements in the rugged terrain in Afghanistan.
Oshkosh Corporation is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of specialty access equipment, commercial, fire & emergency and military vehicles and vehicle bodies.
(Source: Oshkosh Corporation; issued June 30, 2009)