ELGIN, OK (TNN) - Driving up I-44 to Oklahoma City, it’s nearly impossible to miss the construction going on at BAE Systems in Elgin. The facility is more than tripling in size.
BAE Systems is a staple of the Elgin community and of the U.S. Army, being that the facility builds the Army’s newest howitzer, the M109-A7.
“It’s a pretty significant growth from the old howitzers," said Jim Miller, Director of Business Development for Combat Vehicles. "It provides our guys a significant advantage over any enemy they are going to fight and more importantly, it’s going to help them stay alive in the battlefield.”
The Army’s need for this machine is growing, so to keep up with the demand BAE is expanding. Right now, the Elgin facility churns out about 40 howitzers a year. But they want to get that number up to 60, hence the new facility.
About 52,000 square feet is being added to the existing facility, bringing the total to 72,000 square feet. Miller predicts another 20 jobs will need to be added, and he expects that alone will have a big impact on Elgin. But there’s an even bigger vision that comes with this expansion.
“There is great potential to grow a small industrial network here around this facility that should create a large amount of growth in this area,” said Miller.
The success of the plant is driven by a solid workforce, and partnerships between Elgin and Fort Sill. Miller says its something the entire community should take pride in.
“The most advanced howitzer our Army has is being assembled here, and I think being apart of that even if its just driving by, its pretty cool," said Miller.
Expansion started back in October and should wrap up this summer.