By Jim Cooper, Editor

A new contract with the military is expected to provide a boost for the Mustang Survival plant in Spencer.

The U.S. Air Force awarded the Integrated Aircrew Ensemble (IAE) contract earlier this month. The multi-million dollar, multi-year program is a strategic objective of the Air Force to outfit every aircraft duty station with a completely integrated and compatible modular aviation system.

The system includes life preservers, survival vests, immersion garments and anti-G suits for protecting aircrews from hazardous environments.

Mustang is part of a team that includes TIAX of Lexington, Mass., and RFD Beaufort of the United Kingdom that advanced the technology and won the contract. Mustang will be engineering and producing new aviation solutions specific to the program requirements.

"We are extremely excited to be a part of the elite team that will work on engineering and producing the AIE system," Jason Leggatt, Mustang's vice president of research and product development, said.

"It is a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with such strong partners and to apply our aviation product development expertise in building a system that will lead and influence the aviation protection platform for years to come," he added. "We look forward to bringing already implemented technologies to a new level of innovation as a team."

Mustang is headquartered in Burnaby, British Columbia. It also has a customer service and shipping facility in Bellingham, Wash., as well as manufacturing operations in Elizabeth and Spencer.

Mark Whitley, economic development director for Roane and Jackson counties, said the AIE contract would directly benefit the West Virginia locations.

"I spoke to corporate officials and they inform me that this will mean more jobs and capital investment for Spencer and Elizabeth," Whitley said.

No specific job creation numbers have been announced.

Mustang's Spencer facility in the Roane Industrial Park began operations in August 2009 as a satellite of the Elizabeth plant. The workforce was 52 in late May when the Roane EDA helped Mustang acquire 37,000 additional square feet of the former Goodrich Building for use as a warehouse and shipping area.

Mustang is known as an industry leader in the production of personal flotation devices, survival suits and other lifesaving apparel for customers including the private sector, the military and NASA.


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