Tuesday AM February 16th, 2010

A task force plans to remain in place to help find new projects for BAE Systems in Sealy. That's after last week's decision by the U.S. Army to keep in place its award to a Wisconsin-based company of a contract for building its family of medium tactical vehicles, as Ed Mayberry reports.

Congressman Michael McCaulThe Sealy FMTV Task Force says it will remain in place to help find equivalent projects for BAE Systems in Sealy.  There are legal options that BAE Systems can explore to fight further for the FMTV, but Congressman Michael McCaul says it's also time to look at other contract options.

"Let's hope that the wars start winding down and we can, you know, we won't have to be doing this.  But that's kind of where this was headed, anyway.  They had to look at diversification into, you know, potentially private-sector commercial vehicles, and so, you know, the original Stewart & Stevenson that was the predecessor of BAE, you know, built a lot of commercial vehicles.  This is forcing them to kind of accelerator that process and begin that diversification process sooner."

The current contract covers work through October, but Congressman McCaul says FMTV work will go beyond that.

"Oshkosh has said they can't produce this vehicle until—the earliest—mid 2011, so I think the Army's going to have to do what they call bridge contract to continue the production of these vehicles, because you're going to have a gap in production of these vehicles for the war fighter in Afghanistan.  And so this plant's not going to close down tomorrow.  It's not going to have, you know, locks and chains put on it and workers out of a job.  That's just not going to happen.  It's going to go forward, and I think it's going to go forward in a stronger way." 

Congressman McCaul says the OshkoSh facility just doesn't yet have the capability to build the military vehicles.  But he says BAE Systems will have to diversify—and knew they would have to, eventually—when the wars wind down.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...