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January 13, 2014

News Briefs January 14, 2013

AM General recalling about 200 idled workers

AM General plans to begin recalling about 200 idled workers next month at its northern Indiana assembly plants for military and commercial vehicles.

AM General spokesman Jeff Adams said Jan. 11 in a statement that the employee recall “is in response to a previously planned foreign military order of Humvees and the restart of production operations for the commercial MV-1 vehicle. The South Bend Tribune reports the MV-1 is the first wheelchair accessible vehicle built from the ground up.

The company had been the vehicle’s contract assembler. But last year it bought the company that had developed and made the MV-1, Vehicle Production Group.

AM General had been waiting for the U.S. government to approve foreign military orders before deciding to recall idled workers to its Mishawaka, Ind., assembly plants. AP

BAE Systems breaks ground on artillery facility

BAE Systems has broken ground on an expansion to its facility in Elgin, Okla., that will provide final assembly of the Paladin Integrated Management program for the U.S. Army.

The PIM artillery is an upgrade to the Paladin Self-Propelled Howitzer. It includes a new chassis, engine, transmission, suspension and steering system. It’s cannon remains the same as the current Paladin.

Initial vehicle production will take place in York, Penn., before coming to Elgin for final assembly and testing at nearby Fort Sill.

Work on the PIM program is expected to begin during summer 2014 with the first vehicles arriving in Elgin late in the year. The first vehicles will be delivered to the Army in 2015. AP

U.S. Air Force drug probe grows to 10 officers

An Air Force investigation into alleged drug use in the ranks has expanded to include 10 officers at six bases in the U.S. and Britain.

Nine lieutenants and one captain are being investigated for illegal possession of recreational drugs, Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Brett Ashworth said Jan. 10. The case began with the investigation of two officers at Edwards Air Force Base in California and quickly widened to several other bases because of the airmen’s contacts with others about drug possession, he said.

The probe surfaced Jan. 9 as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming to give a pep talk to members of the nuclear missile force. Initially, officials revealed that two nuclear launch control officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana were being investigated for drug use.

Jan. 10, Ashworth said the probe now includes officers at Edwards and Malmstrom as well as at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado, Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and Royal Air Force Lakenheath in eastern England, which hosts U.S. Air Force units and personnel.

No other details about the investigation, which is being conducted by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, are being released. AP

Boeing success sparks hiring at Spirit AeroSystems

Demand for Boeing commercial jetliners is sparking more hiring of production workers at parts maker Spirit AeroSystems in Kansas.

The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kansas) reported Jan. 9 that the company is looking for 200 more mechanics and inspectors in the first part of 2014.

ìWe have open positions right now, and we’re looking to fill them,î Spirit spokesman Ken Evans said.

The company is also studying its needs this year in its salaried workforce, but is not ready to make any announcements yet because that process is just beginning, he said.

Spirit AeroSystems is the biggest employer in Wichita with 10,800 workers. It began hiring more workers last year to meet the rising demand.

We had that hiring blitz at the end of the year all focused on the hourly workforce, Evans said.

We hosted a job fair that was very successful for us. We had a goal to hire 400 by the end of the year, and we met that goal.

Evans cited the rising demand for Boeing’s 737 single-aisle aircraft and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Boeing has announced plans to increase its 737 production to 47 a month by 2017. It is also increasing its 787 production to 12 per month. AP

NORDAM to close cabinetry plant in Wichita, Kansas

Tulsa-based aerospace company NORDAM has announced plans to close its plant in Wichita, Kansas, and move the work to its Interiors & Structures division in Tulsa.

The Wichita plant has 75 employees and manufactures cabinetry for business jet customers.

NORDAM CEO Meredith Siegfried said Friday that a decline in the light to medium business jet market led to the decision to close the plant. Siegfried said about 35 jobs will be transferred to Tulsa where the plant already has about 80 openings and that jobs will be offered to the displaced workers in Wichita.

NORDAM opened the plant in Wichita in 2007.

NORDAM makes components for major airplane manufacturers, such as the Boeing and Airbus, and also performs aircraft repairs – including for the military. AP




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