BAE Systems has snagged a contract worth $198 million to build a new amphibious combat vehicle for the U.S. Marine Corps.
The contract covers an initial 30 vehicles to be delivered by next fall, with an option to produce up to 204 vehicles overall. The overall contract could be worth up to $1.2 billion.
BAE’s facility in West Manchester Township, York County, will take part in building the vehicles, known as ACVs, along with company facilities in South Carolina, Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia and California.
The West Manchester plant helped develop the first 16 prototypes of the ACV in 2015, after BAE landed a $104 million contract with the Marine Corps. The plant itself is expected to add about 530 jobs over the next few years.
“BAE Systems has been investing tens of millions of dollars to increase its combat vehicle manufacturing capacity in York, Pennsylvania to be prepared for an expanded production portfolio including the ACV,” BAE spokeswoma Alicia Gray said in a statement. “Similarly, the company has been aligning its recruitment efforts to ensure staffing levels increase to accommodate the ACV program as it ramps up.”
BAE delivered the first prototypes to the Marine Corps in 2017. The ACVs “performed superbly in water and land operations, payload and survivability” during a testing and assessment period, according to BAE.
“We are well positioned and ready to build the future of amphibious fighting vehicles for the Marine Corps, having already produced 16 prototypes,” Dean Medland, vice president and general manager of combat vehicles amphibious and international at BAE, said in a statement. “Through this award, we are proud to continue our partnership with the Marine Corps.”
According to a press release from BAE, the vehicles will provide the Marines with enhanced mobility and blast mitigation protection. They also feature a new six-cylinder, 700-horsepower engine.
BAE partnered with Italian manufacturer Iveco Defence Vehicles to build the new ACVs, which are designed to replace the Assault Amphibious Vehicle that is currently in service.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), who visited the York BAE facility in April 2017, praised the Marine Corps’ decision to contract with BAE in a press release on Wednesday.
“I have seen firsthand the important work that is carried out by the employees at York’s BAE facility,” Toomey said. “The Marine Corps has made a great decision and I have no doubt that these vehicles will be well-crafted and help our Marines safely carry out their missions around the globe.”
The Marine Corps is already beginning to plan for an upgraded version of the ACV, the ACV 1.2.