RICHLAND TOWNSHIP — While legislators in Washington discuss cuts to the Department of Defense, military defense contracts that could be worth more than $72 million was awarded Wednesday to Johnstown contractors.
Concurrent Technologies Corp. is in the running for a $49 million contract to provide research and development support to the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division; Enterprise Ventures Corp., a wholly owned affiliate of CTC, acquired an $18.3 million contract to build the U.S. Navy Carriage, Steam, Tow and Recovery System for MH-60S helicopters; and Kongsberg Protech Systems USA acquired a $5.2 million contract to develop the M134 Weapon Adaptation Kit for the M153 Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, also known as CROWS.
Besides benefiting the men and women serving in the U.S. military, company officials said Tuesday that these contracts will protect, and create, jobs in the region during the next three to four years.
"Really a lot of good things (are) happening in this defense community here in the Johnstown region," said Edward Sheehan Jr., CTC president and chief executive officer.
CTC will provide the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division with research and development of conventional ammunition, special operations hardware, electronic warfare systems, radar systems, energy and power systems and electro-optics systems.
Sheehan said that although it's difficult to project how many jobs CTC will create with the new contract, it's a sign of stability for the military defense company. The company's Johnstown headquarters employs about 800 people.
"It speaks to the quality of our people and our past performances," he said. "It's critical that we have the right people in place and that we continue to develop our work force."
Enterprise Ventures Corp.'s $18.3 million contract is an extension of an earlier contract acquired in May. The contract awarded in May called for the production of seven units. The contract awarded Wednesday calls for an additional 12 units. The combined value of the two contracts is worth more than $30.8 million.
The Carriage, Steam, Tow and Recovery System is designed to be mounted to MH-60S helicopters and is used by U.S. Naval ships to detect and respond to mine threats.
Kongsberg's $5.2 million contract will provide members of the U.S. Army with another weapon, the M134 mini-gun, to mount onto the CROWS platform. The remote weapon station, equipped with a series of weapons and cameras, allows soldiers to locate and engage targets with a joystick while sitting inside an armored vehicle.
Since 2007 Kongsberg has delivered more than 11,000 CROWS units to the U.S. military. The company's Johnstown location employs 186 people.
Although Wednesday's announcements are positive signs for Johnstown's military defense contractors, potential cuts to the Defense Department loomed over the press event, hosted by Johnstown Area Regional Industries.
Sheehan said he continues to monitor the fight brewing over the "fiscal cliff" in Washington. The fiscal cliff is the term given for unprecedented tax increases and spending cuts set to take place in January if a compromise between legislators cannot be reached.
"We're all trying to avoid the impact (of cuts)," Sheehan said. "It certainly captures our attention, and it's something we'll track closely."