"I am pleased to announce today that BAE Systems is moving forward on the second phase of PIM in Elgin," Senator Inhofe said. "Importantly, this announcement means long term employment for a number of workers in the Ft. Sill/Lawton/Elgin community. BAE will now be constructing a new 150,000 square foot facility located in the Fort Sill Industrial Park. The new facility, expected to be complete in spring of 2010, will provide a flexible facility to assemble and test the PIMs. BAE Systems is also continuing to support the City of Elgin's efforts to improve the infrastructure at the Industrial Park to include: utilities, site preparation and road work.
"In addition to the great economic news for the region, the development of PIM is also good news for our nation's military, as it will increase the survivability and lethality of our Paladin force - keeping the Paladin a viable weapon system for years to come. Just last week during a Senate Committee hearing, I voiced my concern about the future of PIM and the Army's commitment to that program. General Chiarelli responded in that hearing that the Army remains committed to executing the PIM program.
"The Army needs a thorough and comprehensive modernization program, especially with a fleet of combat vehicles developed and procured between 30 to 60 years ago that are aging rapidly. If we do not modernize, we risk sending our sons and daughters into combat in vehicles that are second-rate and are less survivable and effective in combat. The BAE announcement today on PIM will certainly go a long way in helping to modernize our force.
"Along with the PIM, I remain committed to working for the Future Combat Systems (FCS) and its family of manned ground vehicles, including the Non-Line of Sight Cannon (NLOS-C). This program is also a critical component of modernization and remain committed to do everything I can in my role as a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to fight for the Army's FCS program and the NLOS-Cannon. I will ensure that my colleagues and the public understand the importance of these programs to our men and women in the armed services.
"Finally, I am proud to say that BAE Systems has stood by our community during some difficult challenges starting with when the Crusader program was cancelled. Because of their company's vision, BAE Systems found a way to develop a facility that is not dependant on one platform and will be able to assemble the next generation of cannon artillery and beyond. This partnership fulfills BAE Systems' commitment to expansion in the Comanche County region. My heartfelt thanks to BAE for their commitment to our national defense and our community."
Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Toney Stricklin, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Oklahoma (West), thanked Senator Inhofe for his work: "On behalf of the Lawton/Ft. Sill community, I would like to thank Sen. Inhofe for all his hard work in pushing for the PIM program and the NLOS-C. Today's news will mean jobs for our community, and we appreciate Senator Inhofe and BAE Systems' commitment to continuing this important work."