At Showcase for Commerce’s milestone 25th year, contract announcements more than doubled past records. The total for new government contracts announced Friday was $2.8 billion.

DRS Technologies took the bulk of that, with an eight-year, $2.5 billion contract with the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command for production of consolidated afloat networks and enterprise services to enhance operations in tactical situations.

“It’s a proud day for the DRS team,” DRS site lead Tony Caper said.

DRS won the contracts during the past six months and already is in the development stages on one. The focus now is on delivering.

“Basically, it’s investing in the workforce we have today. Now, as a prime (contractor) to the Navy, there are a lot of different things that we have to do, so we’re learning as we go.

“Everyone is invested in making this a success. Initially, it’s understand what we have in front of us, make decisions as we go forward.”

The contracts stabilize the defense contractor’s workforce of about 350 local employees, he said.

“What we’re looking for right now is stability of the workforce we have, and then if the opportunity presents itself and we need to hire, we’ll look at that,” Caper said.

All of the manufacturing for the project – to consolidate the Navy’s existing legacy and standalone afloat networks and provide infrastructure for applications, systems and services – will be done in Johnstown, he said.

Caper said he remembers a few years ago, announcing a

$23 million contract with the Navy, a first opportunity for the company as a direct supplier.

“A lot has happened since then – consolidations, change in executive leadership, consolidations of facilities,” he said.

Following a motto of the current president – “performance equals opportunity” – helped the company focus on a plan to take advantage of that “foot in the door,” he said.

“The quality has been second to none,” Caper said.

Aside from the multi-billion-dollar contract with the Navy, DRS also won a handful of multi-million-dollar projects:

• $171 million (cumulative value: $384.3 million) with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center for the development, integration and production of technology insertion hardware.

• $48 million with Lockheed Martin Corp. for production hardware and spares for the MK 41 Vertical Launching Systems.

• $15.5 million with the Naval Sea Systems Command for production of the common display system.

• $12 million with DRS Technologies AISR Dayton, Ohio, for production and delivery of joint tactical terminal-receivers for Navy and Australian EA-18G aircraft.

• $11.6 million with the Naval Sea Systems Command Gigabit Ethernet Data Mutliplex Systems hardware, installation and repairs.

The contracts will provide security for the company over the next decade, Caper said, adding that the company just renewed a lease at its Richland Township property for the next 10 years. In the past, DRS has stuck with lease renewals of five years or fewer.

A number of other defense contractors also shared good news Friday.

Award announcements included $36 million in contracts for Concurrent Technologies Corp., including $10.9 million in task orders from the Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command. The task order includes providing software engineering, development and programming support. A separate, $2.2 million task order from the same organization includes searching for diminishing manufacturing sources and studying resulting impacts to weapon system readiness. Both are part of a 2008 contract award that has totaled $45 million so far, CTC President Ed Sheehan said.

“It’s a true privilege to support the preparedness of our nation’s war fighters,” he said.

Enterprise Ventures Corp., the private arm of Concurrent Technologies, announced a $1.5 million contract to provide spare parts for the carriage, stream, tow and recovery system for the Defense Logistics Agency.

Other announcements were:

• $6.9 million in contracts to Martin-Baker America, new orders for helicopter seats, spare parts and maintenance for the U.S. Armed Forces and allied countries

• $6 million to JWF Defense Systems to continue production on combat vehicle stowage boxes and platforms for Stryker vehicles.

Company President Bill Polacek also announced three multi-year government prime contracts worth up to $4.2 million and a blanket purchase agreement with the Army Contracting Command in which the total maximum value of the contract is unlimited.

• Software and technology solutions firm Problem Solutions announced more than $4.1 million in military contracts – a $435,000 award to support the Army Research Laboratory and enhance adaptive learning systems for the Army’s Simulation Training Technology Center and a separate, 3-year, $3.7 million contract with AQuate Corp to support the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command and the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative.

Showcase’s congressional sponsor, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., said the numbers are remarkable.

“It is a celebration of jobs and our national defense,” he said.

“The companies represented here are taking responsibility for the blessings of liberty. All these contracts in one way or another are in furtherance of that goal.

“It’s also a celebration of this region.”

This is the first time Showcase announcements have topped

$2 billion in contracts, Johns-town Area Regional Industries President Linda Thomson said.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” she said. “We are so proud of DRS and their team and the work they are doing every day.”

Kecia Bal is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at @KeciaBKay

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