AM General to expand, hire ‘hundreds’ after receiving contract to build military vehicles
MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - AM General is looking to hire hundreds of additional workers and spend tens of millions of dollars to expand and equip plant space on its Mishawaka campus.
AM General CEO Jim Cannon could not be more specific on the numbers less than a week after winning a huge contract to produce vehicles for the military. Then again, he couldn’t be more optimistic about the impact of the project on the company and community.
“So, this is recession proof. This is a ten-year contract to produce this vehicle in the quantities we’ve stated will probably grow,” Cannon told 16 News Now today at the Mishawaka plant. “Today, we had a plant-wide meeting. I think, suffice to say, this is a great boost to morale, and it submits our legacy here In northern Indiana for another generation of workers.”
AM General has yet to make a single solitary JLTV, or Joint Light Tactical Vehicle – nor the trailer that goes with it. The two JLTV units now on the grounds of the Mishawaka plant are on loan from the Army.
“This is an example that we got, one of two JLTV’s from the Army for us to disassemble, assemble, practice building and study the design of so we can compete to win,” Cannon added.
AM General didn’t design the JLTV, nor did the company win the original contract to build it in 2015. But AM General did win a contract recompete last week.
“So, that means here at AM General we’ve got to expand our factory to accommodate production of this,” Canon said. “We’ll start in March of 2024.” Cannon estimated the cost to be in the “tens and tens of millions of dollars.”
AM General already employs 500 workers in St. Joseph County where it has built Humvees for nearly 40 years. With the addition of the JLTV deal, the company will be looking to add “hundreds” more.
The first eight JLTV’s are expected to come off the production line in March of 2024. That’s about the time AM General will start supplying the vehicles and the Wisconsin company that built JLTVs for the past ten years (Oshkosh Defense) will stop.
The contract, perhaps, also provides a chance for a defense contractor that has been at the side of soldiers for decades, to get back on the front lines. “There’s not a veteran today that doesn’t have a story about a Humvee. No matter what branch of the service you’re in. You see it everywhere,” Cannon said. “I’ve got my own personal experiences on the battlefield with Humvees. This is the next vehicle that, for decades to come, will forge those memories among veterans. We’re going to build them all here so the center of gravity for light wheeled tactical vehicles for the world, allied armies is northern Indiana.”
According to Cannon, the JLTV is specifically designed for combat with the suspension and engine designed to hold the armor and the weapons it could carry. The Humvee is a utility vehicle used behind the battle lines to serve as an ambulance, carry supplies or house anti drone devices.
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