LIMA — The Joint Systems Manufacturing Center may soon see more jobs and program funding, due to recent U.S. Senate legislation.
On Thursday, the Senate adopted an amendment, proposed by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), to fund upgrades to the JSMC-made Army Stryker.
The amendment, adopted to the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, allots $371 million in research, development and procurement funding to upgrade the vehicle and is anticipated to create 60 jobs at the plant in Lima.
The amendment came after the Army requested the Stryker be updated to “increase its lethality,” with a 30-millimeter gun system, according to an email from Lima Mayor David Berger.
General Dynamics Land Systems, which operates the government-owned JSMC, expects to be awarded a contract later this year to start the program, according to a statement from Tim Reese, GDLS spokesman for Stryker Programs.
“General Dynamics wants to thank Sen. Portman for his leadership and support on this important issue that will support a strong national defense for the U.S. and its allies, while protecting the defense industrial base and work force at the JSMC in Lima, Ohio,” according to a statement from the company.
Portman’s amendment was the first adopted to the NDAA and was passed with bipartisan support, according to a release form his office.
“My amendment is of vital importance for our forward deployed soldiers and sends a strong message that we will support them in this time of great uncertainty in Europe,” according to a statement from Portman. “I look forward to working for final passage of my amendment and this important legislation.”
The upgrades will “vastly increase the range, accuracy and firepower for the crews of those vehicles, giving them the ability to detect and defeat more targets at longer ranges than they can today,” according Reese’s statement.
Berger, who also co-chairs Task Force LIMA, a group of local officials and community leaders focused on keeping the JSMC open, said the amendment is “good news and Task Force LIMA appreciates the efforts of Senator Portman.”
“This is meeting a need identified by the Army and will provide benefits locally for the JSMC and its skilled workforce,” according to Berger’s email.
Portman also proposed an amendment concerning the JSMC-made Abrams tank on Thursday.
The amendment, intended to help Ukraine, will include a report on armored warfare and “highlight the importance of armored vehicles like the Abrams tanks and Strykers manufactured in Lima, Ohio,” according to a statement from Portman.
“The most important part of this approval is that it will protect our fighting men and women so they can return home safely to their families,” according to Reese’s statement. “Approximately 30 percent of our total workforce are former military. What we do every day is for the soldiers and marines who sacrifice much to guard our freedom.”