Multimillion dollar manufacturing upgrade coming to JSMC - Lima, OH News Weather Sports

Multimillion dollar manufacturing upgrade coming to JSMC

The army indicates that the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center will be around for the long haul through a multimillion dollar upgrade for the plant.

The army will purchase a $6.6 million machine for the facility.  The new equipment is expected to be installed within the next two years-- just in time for production of the next generation of Abrams tanks.  

The high speed milling machine will be used to manufacture hulls and to drill through thick pieces of steel.  The purchase comes just a few years after the army's suggestion of shutting down the facility for three years in order to save money.  

However, plant officials say this announcement is a signal that the army is committed to sustaining production at the Lima facility.  

The news is a welcome relief for members of Task Force LIMA.  The group, along with Ohio's senators and representatives in D.C. successfully campaigned to keep the facility open but with a much lower rate of production.  

Task force chair David Berger says keeping the lights on allowed the JSMC to look for additional work including foreign military sales.  

 Tank refurbishment is currently at an all time low.  However, production on the next generation tank called the V3 is slated to begin in 2017.  Plans are also moving forward with a contract for tanks from the Moroccan government and the facility is vying for additional work on the Stryker combat vehicle.  

Plant officials say the JSMC is the only facility in the Western hemisphere that can take raw steel and turn it into a fully assembled tank.