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A Dream Becomes Reality

August 27, 2007
Weekly Columns

Over the past two weeks I have seen several exciting developments that are coming to the Fourth District of Oklahoma. In fact, last week I attended the kick-off ceremony in the future home of the Non-Line of Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) integration facility. The location in Elgin was chosen collectively by the U.S. Army, Boeing and BAE Systems as the site for this integration facility.

The NLOS-C site announcement came as a long-awaited victory for the city of Elgin. A few years ago, the Elgin community was picked to host a different artillery system for the Crusader, but the plans for the development were unexpectedly halted. Since that time, city officials and members of the community have worked diligently to position themselves to receive a better and more efficient weapons production facility. Meanwhile, Senator Jim Inhofe and I worked with the Army to make certain that Elgin was at the top of the list to host the next state-of-the-art field artillery system. And now, everyone who worked to bring development and change to Elgin has been greatly rewarded with the NLOS-C integration center.

The Elgin facility will support production of the NLOS-C, which is a key element of the Army's Future Combat System modernization plan. The cannon will provide soldiers with a safe alternative to traditional combat procedures and create greater overall efficiency. For example, the NLOS-C will have a fully automated reloading system, letting the machine do the reloading work, while allowing soldiers the freedom to perform critical jobs that require advanced skills and reasoning. The NLOS-C will give combat teams a safe advantage by providing them the technology to use extended-range capabilities to strike targets from greater distances.

Construction in Elgin will begin later this year and is expected to be completed by early 2009. The facility will include a 150,000 square-foot building as well as other infrastructure-related components. The facility should produce six NLOS-C vehicles a year between 2010 and 2012 and is expected to provide other production elements in the future. This is, certainly, a major achievement for the city of Elgin as well as the U.S. Army.   

During the ceremony I was very impressed by the plans revealed for the production facility. I am proud that this initial step is just the beginning of a series of promising developments that are creating an exciting future for Southwest Oklahoma. I look forward to seeing the growth and progress that the Fourth District has coming its way. Thankfully, because of the collective effort of many Oklahomans and through several partnerships with reliable companies confident in the potential of Elgin, the dream of this facility has now become a reality.