Weighty Defense Contract Awarded

    MUSKEGON. — The U.S. Army has awarded a $12.5 million contract to one of the old defense industry stand-bys in Muskegon.

    The contract, awarded to General Dynamics Landing Systems, is for the procurement of 1,800 crankshaft engines for the M88 Hercules recovery vehicle.

    The announcement came recently from the Washington office of Congressman Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland.

    “General Dynamics is a premier defense contractor,” Hoekstra said, “and I am pleased to announce that its Muskegon plant will continue to produce equipment used by the U.S. military.

    “While our soldiers battle on the front lines, they can rest assured that men and women back home will be helping to build the vehicles that are crucial to their ongoing success.”

    Work on the engines will take place at General Dynamics’ manufacturing plant in Muskegon, which has been through several corporate lives since World War II.

    It came into existence as part of Ryan Motors, a pre-war manufacturer of engines for light aircraft.

    It later became the General Products Division of Continental Motors Corp., then Teledyne Continental Motors and, now, General Dynamics Land Systems.

    The firm is to manufacture 1,050 hp engines for an armored vehicle that is designed to tow damaged or mired tanks out of trouble and to retrieve other armored vehicles from combat zones.

    The M88 recovery vehicle — which looks a bit like a 30-foot ingot on treads — has the capacity to drag a 70-ton Abrams tank out of the line of fire. It also is equipped with a boom that enables it to lift and carry vehicles weighing up to 25 tons.

    The M88 is the Army’s largest vehicle recovery system. The estimated contract completion date is Dec. 12, 2008.  

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