Inhofe surveys recent BAE expansion progress in Elgin - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Inhofe surveys recent BAE expansion progress in Elgin

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ELGIN, Okla._ A military defense contractor here is making progress on their new facility, and Sen. Jim Inhofe visited for the first time Tuesday to check it out.

BAE Systems will soon assemble paladin howitzers, which are forceful defense weapons that have been used on the ground in the military for years. The resources of southwest Oklahoma will soon help in getting new and modernized howitzers in front of soldiers on the battlefield.

"This may be the only place in America today where something good is happening for the military," says Inhofe.

The small building is deserted now but will soon be bustling with construction crews as they work to double the facility's size in order to assemble the new and improved machinery.

"(This howitzer has) a better ride quality and much better soft soil traffic ability, so it moves better in bad terrain," says Adam Zarfoss, director of artillery programs for BAE. "It's faster than the old system … it has much better survivability and force protection. It's about protecting our soldiers when they go into harms way."

Inhofe, who serves as the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says this new equipment is helping to modernize our weaponry.

"We haven't had a modernization to our ground capability in almost 50 years."

The 80,000-pound machine will be assembled in Elgin and then they'll roll it down the road to be tested on post at Ft. Sill.

It's a project that's a long time coming. Defense cutbacks have prevented the operation from getting underway for years. Inhofe says knocks to defense spending by the president have put the military behind.

"He's taken $487 billion out of the military ... he's going to go down as the most anti-defense president probably in history," says Inhofe.

The building is expected to be completed by early June. BAE directors expect to roll out their first finished piece of machinery by the end of September. It is a project that is expected to bring nearly 50 jobs to Elgin.

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