May 5, 2010 10:42:00 AM
U.S. troops riding in locally built vehicles will have an easier time beating the Afghanistan heat thanks in part to $191 million awarded to Navistar Defense in West Point.
The awards encompass two separate orders to begin delivery in October. Neither will create additional jobs at the West Point manufacturing facility.
One order, $103 million from the Marine Corps, will go toward enhancement packages for the 1,222 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) MaxxPro Dash vehicles currently in use in Afghanistan.
Items listed on the Department of Defense website to be included in the enhancement packages include: air conditioning circulation switches and heating/air conditioning/ventilation kits.
Elissa Koc, manager of communications for Navistar Defense, says all the MaxxPro Dash units in Afghanistan have air conditioning, but the circulation switch will help better circulate air through all compartments.
Additional enhancements include: Gunner restraints, 120-volt wiring harnesses, rear ramp hydraulics, rear ramp storage and fire support systems kits.
Koc says the enhancements will be built into all current and future MRAP productions.
The other award, $89 million from the Army, extends a current contract for medium tactical trucks by 629 units. The trucks vary in use from troop transports to water tankers to wreckers to fuel trucks.
U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) announced the awards Tuesday.
"I am pleased that Navistar Defense has been awarded contracts to continue to provide the Defense Department with new transport vehicles and upgrades to existing MRAP units to make these life-saving vehicles suitable for the more challenging terrain in Afghanistan. We should all be proud that Mississippi''s workforce will carry out these contracts, which will keep our men and women in uniform safe as they carry out their missions," said Cochran, ranking Republican on the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
"These awards are great news for Mississippi and our state''s growing defense industry. This additional work will allow our state''s skilled workforce to continue to play a critical role in our nation''s homeland security," said Wicker, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.