Proposed Defense Budget Would Slow Production of Army’s Armored Multipurpose Vehicle

 In Afghanistan, GDI, Land, Defense, Iraq

Production on the Army’s newest armored vehi­cle would slow con­sid­er­ably in 2021 under a budget pro­pos­al unveiled by Pentagon offi­cials this week.

But that does­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly mean Anniston Army Depot will see a delay in its work on the Armored Multipurpose Vehicle, an advo­cate for the depot said.

“I don’t think it’s going to affect the depot at all,” said Nathan Hill, mil­i­tary liai­son for the Calhoun County Economic Development Council.

Hill spends much of his time lob­by­ing Congress for more work at the depot, a mil­i­tary facil­i­ty west of Anniston where work­ers repair and refur­bish tanks, armored vehi­cles and small arms. The depot is Calhoun County’s largest employ­er, even after rounds of lay­offs that fol­lowed draw­downs in Iraq and Afghanistan nearly a decade ago.

The Pentagon announced last year that Anniston will become the repair depot for its newest armored vehi­cle, the Armored Multipurpose Vehicle or AMPV. Built by British-based con­trac­tor BAE, the AMPV is meant to replace the M113, a widely used armored vehi­cle that has been around since the 1960s.

The AMPV isn’t expect­ed in Anniston soon, but it’s likely to create jobs at the depot in the 2030s, as the now-new vehi­cles wear down and need repair.

AMPV on the move (BAE Systems photo)

The Army orig­i­nal­ly planned to buy 143 AMPVs in 2021, accord­ing to Jane’s Defence Weekly. This week, the Pentagon instead pro­posed buying 32 of them.

Hill said the cut isn’t unex­pect­ed. BAE’s fac­to­ry in York, Pa., was already expe­ri­enc­ing pro­duc­tion prob­lems, he said.

“This was prob­a­bly an easy kill for them,” Hill said. “This will push some of the pro­duc­tion out to 2022.”

Hill said that with the first AMPVs due in Anniston in seven or eight years, there’s likely time for BAE to catch up on pro­duc­tion. In 2018, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, at the time sec­re­tary of the Army, vis­it­ed the York site after a report by a Defense Department agency sug­gest­ed York might not able to sup­port a surge in work, accord­ing to Stars and Stripes. The DoD report said York — locat­ed in east­ern Pennsylvania between Harrisburg and Baltimore, Md. — may not have enough weld­ing or machin­ing capac­i­ty, or the abil­i­ty to hire and train enough work­ers.

In an emailed state­ment to The Star Thursday night, a BAE offi­cial said the com­pa­ny was making “sig­nif­i­cant invest­ments” that include “robot­ic weld­ing tech­nol­o­gy that is already in use.”

The com­pa­ny is on con­tract to pro­duce a total of more than 450 AMPVs, the state­ment read.

©2020 The Anniston Star (Anniston, Ala.) — Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Source: Task & Purpose

Recommended Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search