ELGIN, Okla. – A ground-breaking ceremony in the small town of Elgin is leading the way in world-class weapons systems.
It’s a program that has been 10 years in the making.
The community of Elgin, the U.S. Army and BAE Systems teamed up to unveil a new mobile cannon, known as the Paladin Integrated Management Program, or PIM.
BAE is a global defense, security and aerospace company that develops products for air, land and naval forces.
Officials said the company has been chosen as a test for a new weapon, Howistzer’s Paladin Integrated Management System.
Workers in the town will now be responsible for assembling a new breed of the Paladins at the plant.
The weapons will then be sent to Fort Sill for testing before moving on to the Army.
BAE Systems officials say they believe the town is perfect for the job.
Erwin Bieber, president of BAE Systems Land & Armaments sector, said “Where is a better place to do final integration of a vehicle like this? Right next to the fort where you can roll it out of the facility, into the fort, do live fire, come back if any corrections are required, in close proximity with the test community and this facility right here.”
The expansion brings several long-term, specialized jobs to the area.
The mobile cannons boast new and improved technology and will be far more effective protecting soldiers from IED’s.
Major Gen. Mark McDonald said, “A new weapon system for our soldiers is exactly what they need. This looks like the old weapon that we used to have and it was built in the early 60′s. But this is nothing like that.”
New engines, transmissions, and steering systems also make them faster, stronger and safer for soldiers on the battlefield.
Officials say it could change the standard for modern weaponry around the world.
“Anytime we send them in harms way, we owe it to them to have the best equipment possible,” Major Gen. McDonald said. “And that’s exactly what this is.”
The facility will start assembling the new vehicles in the fall and deliver them to the Army early next year.
There are also plans to expand the facility in 2017.