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BAE Breaks Ground on New Expansion

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ELGIN, Okla_After years of setbacks, cutbacks, and scrapped ideas, the defense contractor, BAE systems, is finally expanding their facility in Elgin.

 Company officials joined representatives from the army, as well as the city of Elgin on this day that has been long overdue. With this new project, they will not be building new military hardware, but they will be involved in the final assembly of new updated paladin howitzers.

 Paladin howitzers are gigantic pieces of hardware intended to bring fire upon the enemy several miles away and they just got updated to make them even better and its happening in Elgin.

 The ground is finally being broken for an expansion at the BAE facility in Elgin...and will play a pivotal role in the paladin integrated management program, or POIM, which is updating the paladin howitzer. Major General Mark McDonald is excited about the new hardware.

 "This looks like the old weapon we use to have and it was built in the early 60's, but this is nothing like that, just has a similar appearance. It's got new drive train, new protection, all the oil hydraulics out and put new electronic drives in and its capable and expandable," said MG Mark McDonald.

 BAE President of Land and Armaments Erwin Bieber says it's been in the works for three years until BAE was finally awarded the contract last year.

 "And what it's going to result in is the integration of equipment right here in this facility using local workforce and we are going to ultimately integrate and final delivery and test the sets with the army at fort sill right next door," said Erwin Bieber.

 The majority of the vehicle will be produced in York, Pennsylvania and will be shipped to Elgin for final assembly and testing....working closely with Fort Sill.

 "So where is a better place to do final integration of a vehicle like this ...right next the fort where you can role it out of this facility into the fort live fire ...come back if any corrections are required in close proximity with the test community and this facility right here," says Bieber.

 Work on the PIM program is expected to begin this summer...with the first vehicles arriving in Elgin later this year, and delivered to the army in 2015.

BAE will complete nineteen BAE howitzers a year for the next three years at the Elgin facility. 

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