While U.S. cruise missiles have been bombing Iraq the past week, another battle involving them has been won by "the good guys" in Utah, according to Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah.
Williams International in Ogden has been given a sole-source contract by the Pentagon to produce the missile's small-but-powerful engines. Williams and another company, Teledyne, had both produced them in the past - but now only Williams will.The contract is for $44.5 million to produce 318 engines for Tomahawk sea-launched cruise missiles and the remanufacture of 100 other engines. The contract includes options for additional purchases of up to 1,056 engines for a total cost of $135 million.
Garn said, "Sam Williams, president of Williams International, designed and produced the engine and then was forced to give the technology to another contractor - even though the other contractor was never able to compete with Williams' performance or cost."
Williams International has always fulfilled its defense contracts on time and within budget - which is unprecedented among defense contractors, Garn said.
"While second-sourcing is a good practice in some cases, it simply was not working with the cruise missile engines and cost the federal government millions of dollars," Garn said.
"For four years now, I have been pleading with the secretary of the Navy to look closely at the performance and cost records of the two contractors and to halt this unfair practice."
Last year, Garn took his complaints directly to Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, and the Pentagon finally opted for a single-source contract.
Garn said, "In light of how the conflict in the Persian Gulf is depleting our inventory of cruise missiles, I expect an increase in the future production of the missiles. Williams is a model contractor and the Department of Defense has finally seen fit to reward them."
Garn also noted, "These are the same Tomahawk missiles which are being deployed successfully in the Persian Gulf right now. We have been extremely proud of our success record in the gulf and the dedicated Ogden employees who have built the engines for these missiles."