- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 27, 2003

From combined dispatches

General Dynamics Corp. will build a $64.5 million plant in Dumfries, Va., where it will assemble amphibious fighting vehicles for the U.S. Marine Corps.

The Falls Church weapons and aerospace company said its Land Systems unit will employ 170 persons at the new Prince William County plant when it begins production in 2005, with the number potentially rising as high as 340 later.

Virginia economic development officials and Gov. Mark Warner met with company officials in January to help bring the project to the state. Sites in Louisiana, Rhode Island and Ohio also were under consideration.

Prince William County will receive $500,000 from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund for the project. General Dynamics qualifies for a $2 million performance grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership plus rail and road access funding from the state.

The “decision speaks volumes about the business climate in Prince William County and Virginia as well as General Dynamics’ confidence in our future,” said Sean Connaughton, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.

The plant, which will be near the Quantico Marine Base, will assemble the new Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, which can be launched from ships 20 to 25 nautical miles out to sea, traveling at 25 knots in the water and up to 45 miles per hour on land. It has a crew of three and can carry 17 Marines.

General Dynamics has a contract to build 1,000 assault vehicles for the Marine Corps over the next 10 years. The project to build the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicles is estimated to be worth about $1.5 billion to the defense contractor, and General Dynamics spent the first half of the year evaluating locations to build and test the vehicles.

The company evaluated 10 locations based on six criteria: cost, facility and the related infrastructure, performance-testing capability, environmental considerations, information technology and transportation availability.

“Each of the 10 bids was evaluated very carefully and objectively,” John Wosina, General Dynamics Land Systems vice president of amphibious systems, said in a statement. “We selected the offer that provided the best value.”

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