ELGIN, OK (KSWO)- BAE Systems in Elgin will be expanding its facility all thanks to a contract they received in December totaling close to $1.7 billion dollars. Senator Jim Inhofe made a stop at the facility on Friday morning to take a tour and speak to employees.
Senator Inhofe said the expansion is helping modernize our military. If you have driven by the BAE system in Elgin you may have noticed a howitzer which is an artillery weapon.They are assembled in Elgin before they are tested at Fort Sill and sent out to the military. With the expansion they can increase the production.
Senator Jim Inhofe said one of President Trump's focuses is to re-build the military and having the BAE facility in the heart of Oklahoma will help the Army position for the future.
"This is where all the action is. It is due to them we have a lot of people employed and is part of the state and this is one of the reasons for the heavy growth here because of the quality of the work ethic that people have working. It means a lot, it means a lot to the future as we are trying to re-build our military because we are getting into an administration that is very pro-advanced and this could not be more secure in what we have right here," said Inhofe.
Vice President and General Manager for Combat Business Vehicles at BAE Adam Zorfoss said the expansion is going to almost triple the amount of square footage they have at the facility.
"So for BAE systems it is really important for us as we transition from low rate initial production to full rate production which really marks our opportunity to fill this combat capability to the U.S. Army so it's a pretty exciting time," said Zorfoss.
It will also bring in more career opportunities for people across Southwest, Oklahoma.
"Direct job and indirect jobs we will be expanding the BAE's footprint for our employees here as well as folks that support us in the local community and the government folks at the site as well," said Zorfoss.
With a new administration in place, Senator Inhofe adds this will put our military back ahead of the pack.
"We are paying for it now we are paying for it in terms of some of the equipment we have it has not been maintained well we had a lot things happen that are life threatening so this is going to save lives," said Zorfoss.
Zorfoss is grateful for Senator Inhofe's support.
"The Senator has been a great partner for us in this journey, he talked about the challenges we had modernizing or field artillery. He has been a staunch supporter for our Army for the field artillery for our community, for our work here in Elgin and for BAE systems. So he is a principal part of the reason we have this facility and we have this program which is much needed for our soldier's," said Zorfoss.
BAE is in the permitting process and they hope to start construction in April. The goal is to have the facility open by the end of the year.