JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – JWF Industries has begun building complete Army ground mobility vehicles at its facility on Iron Street in Johnstown, company leaders said Friday.
“We’ve done something pretty historical,” said Bill Polacek, JWF Industries president, during the Showcase for Commerce defense industry trade show in downtown Johnstown. “We have the region’s first-ever vehicle assembly line. It’s never been done before.”
JWF received a contract from Flyer Defense LLC to build the Flyer 72 family of vehicles, Polacek said. He added that JWF has 139 employees working on the vehicles and is looking to hire 60 additional workers.
Polacek’s news was one of several contract announcements shared on Friday by Johnstown’s defense industry leaders as Showcase for Commerce celebrated regional small businesses’ innovation and collaboration with friends and allies – including the Kingdom of Denmark.
Pennsylvania and Denmark on Friday at Showcase entered a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in areas of energy and defense.
Before a crowd gathered for a press conference at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial, Henrik Bramsen Hahn, the Danish Embassy’s deputy chief of mission, and David Briel, Pennsylvania’s deputy secretary for international business development, signed the agreement.
“The agreement is a clear testament to our shared goal of clean energy to strengthen our defense industries,” Hahn said.
Denmark is a world model for its policies on energy transition, Briel said. A key part of America’s defense strategy is commitment to energy efficiency, he added.
“This agreement puts Pennsylvania, and Johnstown, on the map,” Briel said after the conference.
Companies at the Showcase press conference announced a total of about $200 million in U.S. defense contracts. The awards included:
• Kongsberg’s award of a $94 million production contract from the U.S. Marine Corps for its RS6 30mm Remote Weapon Station;
• Martin-Baker America’s contract awards for ejection seats and seating platforms for fighter jets that together will bring $6.5 million to the Johnstown region; and
• Concurrent Technologies Corp.’s award of a Defense Logistics Agency contract of $15 million to advance 3D-printed sand casting mold technology.
Johnstown’s relationship with Denmark started in 2015 with an agreement between Johnstown Area Regional Industries, the economic development agency for Cambria and Somerset counties, and CenSec, the primary cluster organization among Danish companies in the defense, space and security industries. Another agreement was signed Friday to strengthen that relationship.
JARI President Linda Thomson and CenSec President Klaus Bolving signed a new international cooperation agreement Friday to advance the shared interests of both parties to pursue international opportunities for companies and emerging businesses.
The agreement builds on the presence of Scandinavian companies in Johnstown, including Kitron and Kongsberg.
Bolving visited Showcase this week with a contingent of leaders from Danish companies, including Karsten Viuf, sales director for UXV Technologies.
Viuf said he never knew Johnstown existed before his visit this week. Now he is set to return to Denmark having found a new manufacturing partner in Johnstown.
“I’ve traveled to the U.S. 30 times. I’ve been to half the states,” he said. “I love America, but I’ve never heard of Johnstown.”
He toured the local facility of Kitron, a Scandinavian electronics manufacturing services (EMS) company, and he’s set to travel back to Denmark with Kitron’s Johnstown facility as a new manufacturing partner that will assemble UXV’s remote controls and electronics for drones, robots, and remote-controlled vehicles.
“They have all we need,” Viuf said.
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