LIMA — The Senate Armed Services Committee has authorized an additional $695.5 million to modernize the Stryker vehicles produced at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, which U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said will create more jobs at the Lima facility.
“It’s so critical for our military, but also it’s going to help create and maintain some good paying jobs in Lima,” the Ohio Republican said during a conference call Tuesday afternoon. “This could be a big shot in the arm for Lima.”
Portman and JSMC Plant Manager Hank Kennedy were unsure the exact number of jobs it will create, as the funding authorization for the Stryker vehicle has not been finalized. The funding legislation, which is part of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, will head to the Senate floor for a vote.
“We’re hoping to have a vote on that before the August recess, but I don’t know for sure if that will happen,” Portman said. “In the past, we’ve been able to be successful in getting these bills passed through the full Senate, and then getting it passed in the House [of Representatives] and getting it to the president for his signature.
“I’m looking forward to getting that legislation passed.”
Portman described the Stryker vehicle as the Army’s “most versatile and deployable combat vehicle.” He also said the NDAA funding would provide Stryker Brigades with additional vehicles with upgraded weapons systems, survivability improvements to the vehicle hull, and other mobility and communication improvements.
“By providing the funding to make important upgrades to Stryker vehicles, Congress will ensure our forward deployed soldiers have the vehicles they need to be effective and keep them safe,” he said.
In its FY 2018 NDAA, the Senate Armed Services Committee authorized an additional $348 million to complete the fourth brigade set with 116 Stryker vehicles. The Strykers are outfitted with a double-V hull for increased protection and incorporation of upgrades to improve off-road mobility, improve engine and electrical power, and provide a digital network backbone.
Additionally, the committee added $347.5 million to produce a second brigade set of 81 Stryker Vehicles armed with an upgraded 30mm cannon.
Portman successfully offered an amendment in 2015 to the FY 2016 NDAA to strengthen the Stryker Brigade deployed to Europe by allowing for $371 million to support research, development and procurement of the first Stryker vehicles with this upgraded weapon system. The first brigade set of these vehicles, which are slated to deploy to Europe, are being produced at the JSMC.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @Bush_Lima.