The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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December 12, 2012

Local defense firms get contracts

Deals should keep work forces busy

JOHNSTOWN — Two local defense firms have been awarded a total of $23.5 million in contracts they say will keep their local workforces busy through next year.

And a third, Concurrent Technologies Corp., is one of 14 contractors across the globe picked to exclusively bid for up to $49 million in work supporting a Naval Surface Warfare Center division over the next three years.

Kongsberg Protech Systems USA, CTC and its subsidiary, Enterprise Ventures Corp., said the new work will sustain jobs for hundreds of local workers combined, with the fledgling Enterprise Ventures company expecting several more jobs will likely be added to its 15-employee workforce.

At $18.3 million, it’s Enterprise’s largest contract yet, President David A. Schario said.

It calls for the company to build 12 more Carriage, Stream, Tow and Recovery Systems for the MH-60 combat/search and rescue helicopter.

It will enable the copters to search for, retrieve or deactivate underwater mine threats.

The system is deployed from underneath the helicopter, allowing it to do the work without putting crew members in harm’s way, Schario added.

This is Enterprise Ventures’ second contract for the components since May, and both combined will keep its crew busy for four years, he said.

Kongsberg will receive nearly $5.2 million from the Army to add M134 miniguns to its Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station – an armored, joystick-controlled system mounted on the Humvee and other vehicles.

Army soldiers will be able to fire the electrically powered machine gun from inside the cab of the heavily armored vehicles, Kongsberg’s Johnstown general manager, Greg Platt, said.

Once in production, it will be the fifth weapon operating within the CROWS system, he said.

Kongsberg employs 186 people locally, and many will be busy through 2013 because of the new contract, Platt said.

CTC’s deal is more of a “vehicle” for ongoing work, CEO Ed Sheehan Jr. said.

Also through the Naval Surface Warfare Center, CTC will be eligible for millions in work to provide research and development for the division’s Crane radar, energy and power systems, among others, he added.

That could pave the way for additional jobs within CTC’s 800-employee local workforce, he added.

All three awards were announced at Johnstown Area Regional Industries’ Richland-based business development center.

“There are a lot of opportunities coming our way – and they are competitive contracts,” JARI President Linda Thomson said. “It’s great to see that kind of work coming here.”

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