Army Inks $37 M. Contract Expansion For Vermont-Led Production Of Protective Armor For U.S. Troops

(Thursday, May 7, 2009) - Vermont will solidify its role in protecting mobile U.S. soldiers from death and injury from arms fire and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) under a new $37 million contract from the U.S. Army, according to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

Leahy said the Vermont-based unit of General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products has received a new contract to manufacture additional reactive armor tile sets for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the Army’s basic troop transporter.  Since 1995 the Army has fielded just over 2000 General Dynamics-made armor tile sets, accelerating the procurement after the start of operations in Iraq.  The armor system has helped protect soldiers against a variety of threats, from small arms to rocket-propelled grenade attacks. 

The armor tile sets manufactured under the contract will help replace sets damaged in combat and will upgrade the tiles to a newer, stronger version.  Each Bradley Fighting Vehicle operating in Iraq is equipped with a set of the armor tiles, which explode outward to dampen the energy of incoming rounds. 

The contract supports ten jobs at General Dynamics’ technology and engineering division in Burlington, as well as almost 60 manufacturing position at Vermont Fabrication Inc. of Lyndonville. 

Leahy, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and its Defense Subcommittee – which handles the Senate’s work in writing the annual defense budget bill – has championed the soldier-protecting armor program since its inception.  Leahy, who also co-chairs the Senate National Guard Caucus, helped secure this latest round of funding during the Senate’s consideration of the Fiscal Year 2008 Supplemental Appropriations Bill for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

“When our troops go into battle, they deserve the strongest armor we can give them,” said Leahy.  “The seasoned Vermonters who work on this program know how important each tile is, and they put their skill and dedication into this vital work that saves the lives of these brave soldiers.”

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