Paladin contract extended at Letterkenny

April 12, 1997


Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - About 580 workers at the Letterkenny Army Depot will hang on to their jobs for at least another six months thanks to an extension of an Army contract, an aide to U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster, said Friday.

The current contract calls for upgrading 914 Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzers, a tank-like vehicle that operates with a crew of six, said Letterkenny spokesman Alan Loessy. Under the extension, an additional 37 Paladins will be upgraded.

Shuster, R-Pa., said the Army is keeping options open for up to 72 more of the vehicles in the 1998 fiscal year budget.


In announcing the $25 million contract extension, Shuster said the Army needs to convert more of the tracked combat vehicles into modern, sophisticated weapons.

Letterkenny workers renovate the chassis of the weapons which come into the depot from Army units around the world, Loessy said.

About 500 Letterkenny workers and another 80 who work for United Defense, a private contractor on the base, have been upgrading Paladins at the depot since 1994, Loessy said.

Letterkenny workers rebuild the chassis and the United Defense workers redo the electrical systems and firing mechanisms, Loessy said. "They go back and forth," he said.

"This is great news for Letterkenny, United Defense and Franklin County," Shuster said. "This contract will enable Paladin production to continue for an additional six months after the original estimated completion date of January 1999."

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