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Defense Bill Includes Shoreline Work
The firms are Alcoa Automotive, located in
The project is funded in the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2005(H.R. 4613), which President Bush signed into law last week.
Hoekstra's office says the project is part of the Army's Lightweight Structures Initiative, which aims at developing lightweight vehicle structure components and assemblies for the Army Future Combat Systems.
Howmet — known as Howmet International before Alcoa acquired it — pioneered the casting of titanium and other exotic metals early in the cold war and was critical in developing turbine vanes for high-performance military and civilian jet aircraft.
According to Hoekstra's office, a significant part of Howmet's business now involves making titanium castings for the M-777 lightweight towed 155mm howitzer.
The weapons are much lighter than their predecessors and can be towed by lighter vehicles than in the past. They also can be emplaced by cargo helicopters.
The howitzer element of the Howmet business is to grow soon, because the defense appropriations act also includes $52 million for the howitzers for the Marine Corps and $37.2 million for the Army.
Howmet currently is supplying components for the weapons under what the defense department calls an initial, low-rate production phase.
As of next year, however, the act's funding would send production into its full rate.
Howmet would continue supplying M-777 components until 2009.