Goodrich nets $54 million Army contract

VERGENNES — Goodrich Corp.’s Vergennes plant will benefit from the latest installment on a $300 million contract with the U.S. Army for the company’s Health and Usage Management Systems (HUMS), which are used to monitor the operating status of key engine and rotor parts on military and commercial helicopters, according to a Wednesday press release from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
The latest contract calls for the Army to buy $54,745,988 worth of additional units of what Leahy called Goodrich’s “groundbreaking helicopter maintenance diagnostic system.” Leahy said that system “has quickly taken its place as a key maintenance feature of U.S. military helicopter programs.”
The Army contract will pay for HUMS units for its Black Hawk helicopters. HUMS units are also used on other helicopters, including Chinooks, Hueys, Cobras and Lakotas.
The Vermont Air National Guard’s Black Hawk helicopters stationed in Burlington feature HUMS units, according to Leahy’s press release, which also notes Goodrich’s Vergennes plant has produced more than 2,000 HUMS units. The new contract will cross the $150 million sales threshold for Goodrich-Vergennes.
Sol Mirelez, marketing communications manager of Goodrich’s Sensors and Integrated Systems division (which includes the Vergennes plant), said the $54.7 million deal is latest part of the larger $300 million HUMS deal struck between the Army and Goodrich in October 2008.
In an email, Mirelez described that deal as an “Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract with a potential value of up to $300 million.
“The nature of IDIQ contracts is that they’re funded incrementally instead of all at once. Sen. Leahy’s announcement refers to an incremental order that’s part of the initial IDIQ contract,” Mirelez said.
According to Leahy’s press release, the HUMS systems save money and lives.
“(HUMS units) give mechanics feedback on a helicopter’s engine performance, structural performance, and rotor function and wear, allowing a helicopter to be serviced before major systems fail. Before the use of HUMS units, helicopters had to be removed from service for routine preventive maintenance. This downtime unnecessarily grounded some helicopters that did not need servicing while failing to anticipate mechanical failures in others,” the release said.
The fact that HUMS units have now been proven to work is apparently triggering the incremental portions of the original contract.
“This (latest contract) shows that HUMS has firmly taken its place as a cost-saving, life-saving tool in our helicopter programs,” said Leahy. “In a relatively short time, what started as an R&D project in Addison County has proven itself and has become a mainstay of the Defense Department’s helicopter maintenance efforts.”
Gary Loftus, vice president and general manager of Goodrich-Vergennes, said the city plant’s workforce is also happy to contribute to the well-being of military personnel.
“The men and women of Goodrich in Vergennes are very proud to be supporting the Army War Fighters with our HUMS equipment,” Loftus said. “It means a lot to know we’re contributing to their safety and mission success.”
The latest contract continues what has been a largely positive year for Goodrich in Vergennes and overall. After layoffs in 2009, the city plant was advertising this spring for enough positions to restore its workforce to 2008 levels. Its parent firm, a Fortune 500 company, released an outlook in April that also projected a return in 2010 sales to 2008 levels after a modest recession-influenced decline in 2009.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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