Letterkenny to boost production, creating six new jobs

April 16, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. -- Letterkenny Army Depot signed a memorandum of agreement Tuesday that will boost the depot's production of Biological Integrated Detection Systems (BIDS) through 2009.

The agreement transfers all remaining M31E2 BIDS assembly work to Letterkenny, a move that will create about six new jobs, but will boost workload on the system from $8.7 million in 2007 to $69 million in 2009, according to a depot news release.

BIDS consists of five components: a vehicle, shelter, auxiliary equipment, power system and a "biological detection suite" with sensors to detect and monitor the air for the presence of biological warfare agents, according to the Department of Defense. The system was designed to limit the effects of biological warfare attacks.

The agreement calls for the production of about 60 BIDS units a year, depot spokesman Alan Loessy said. Work at the depot will include modification of the Humvees that serve as the vehicles for BIDS, Loessy said.


The depot has been working on components of the BIDS system for several years, Loessy said.

In 2001, the depot and the Edgewood (Md.) Chemical Biological Center signed a memorandum of understanding for the production of 41 M31A1 BIDS, according to the depot news release. That led to funding for the production and modification of 77 M31E2 shelters in 2004, 74 in 2005, 63 in 2006 and 150 shelters last year.

Letterkenny will begin all remaining assembly and production no later than Sept. 30, according to the depot release.

Tuesday's agreement was signed by Depot Commander Steven Shapiro and Col. Daniel Berry, the joint project manager, biological defense.

"When you produce a quality product on time and on schedule, it is recognized," Shapiro said of the depot work force during the signing ceremony. "Your hard work on BIDS these past few years has resulted in more work coming to Letterkenny."

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