More than 250 employees at the Nammo Talley Inc. plant in Mesa are assured job security for several years with the awarding of a nearly $52 million contract to develop and build portable rocket launchers and ammunition for the U.S. Marine Corps.
The contract extends to 2012 the development of 146 next-generation launchers and 915 rounds of ammunition. However, the company expects to later get a long-term contract for more than 1,000 launchers and tens of thousands of rockets, said Dan Huan, vice president of engineering and research. “We’ll employ our current staff initially and possibly expand later,” he said.
The company sits on 550 acres at 4051 N. Higley Road.
The new shoulder-launched assault weapon will replace existing equipment that is 25 years old. Nammo Talley, formerly known as Talley Defense Systems, has been making the ammunition rounds since the 1990s. The new launchers will be made by Raytheon in Tucson while the Mesa plant produces the ammunition.
“This is a very significant contract because it allows us to remain a major supplier to the U.S. military,” said Steven Wegener, Nammo Talley president, in a statement announcing the $51.7 million contract.
Talley has sold the U.S. Marines more than 40,000 rockets since the 1990s.
The portable launchers rest on the shoulder and fire an 83-millimeter rocket up to 500 meters. They are being used in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Talley Defense Systems, which was sold in 1998 to Carpenter Technology Group of Reading, Pa., was purchased in 2007 by Nammo A.S., a Norwegian defense contractor.
The Mesa company’s roots go back to the 1950s when the firm developed aircraft ejection seats. It later built rocket motors, automobile air bags, weapons and other propellant-loaded products. It continues to make rockets that blast ejection seats up and away from a troubled aircraft.