Proposed Army cuts put up to 400 jobs at risk at Fridley plant

It was only a few years ago, the Army was praising a Minnesota built cannon as a weapon of the future and almost exactly a year since the prototype went on display with great fanfare in Washington, D.C.

But now the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon is on the Defense Department’s kill list, threatening hundreds of Twin Cities jobs.

Top Army and Defense Department officials the past few weeks have said the government plans to stop development of a group of new manned ground vehicles, including the cannon.

For the BAE Systems plant in Fridley, that’s potential trouble. About 400 of the roughly 1,500 jobs at the plant are tied to the cannon.

Of course, no weapon is completely dead until it’s cut from congressional appropriations bills. Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma (where a plant to build the cannon was expected) has vowed to fight the cuts.

BAE spokesman Ryan May says it too early to judge the potential impact on the Fridley plant. “In any event, the Department of Defense (including the U.S. Army) is our customer. BAE Systems will react to and support any program changes established by the Department.”

May noted that when the Crusader army vehicle was killed earlier in the decade, about 60 employees out of 600 were cut. The company, however, almost immediately landed a contract for the non-line-of-sight cannon.

We’ll continue to keep tabs on this story, whatever happens.

We got interested in it, by the way, after a citizen source in our Public Insight Network dropped us a line with concern about cuts in the Defense Department proposed budget and what it meant for the cannon and the plant.

You can help us report on Minnesota’s economy, too. Click here and tell us a story about what the economy’s like around you.

Comments are closed.