BAE Systems Plc will win U.S. Army approval this month for full-rate production of self-propelled howitzers and ammunition carriers based on improvements in the $10 billion program after several years of delays over welding defects.
“BAE has met all requirements to enter into full-rate production and we anticipate that happening” during January, Sam Tricomo, a spokesman for the weapon’s Army program office, said in an email.
The company had been assembling the weapons system since October 2013 under a series of low-rate production contracts during which it produced the vehicles late and with numerous welding defects.
Deliveries were halted for six months in 2017 because of welding flaws that required the return for repairs of 50 of 86 vehicles already delivered. Since then, London-based BAE has invested $200 million in improvements at its factory in York, Pennsylvania, and delivered quality vehicles consistently in the last months of 2019, according to the Army.
“To ensure no break in vehicle production” at the York facility and another in Elgin, Oklahoma, the Army last month extended low-rate production, Tricomo said. “Our confidence in BAE’s ability to deliver has increased month after month as we have seen continuous improvement in quality vehicles at increased production rates.” (end of excerpt)
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