CHARLOTTE, Mich., May 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Spartan Chassis, Inc.,
a subsidiary of Spartan Motors, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPAR), today announced that it
has received subcontract orders from Force Protection, Inc., a Charleston,
S.C.-based manufacturer of ballistic and mine-protected military vehicles, to
supply and integrate key chassis components and assist in the manufacture of
military defense vehicles.
The prime procurement contract awarded to Force Protection by the U.S.
Department of Defense on May 13, 2005 is for approximately 120 Cougar Joint
Explosive Ordnance Disposal (“EOD”) Engineering Response Vehicles. Spartan
Chassis said it has received purchase orders representing revenues in excess
of $13 million.
The contract, funded as a result of recommendations by the Joint
Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Task Force, was awarded in response to the
demand for increased protection for U.S. troops abroad. Crudely assembled and
easy to make, improvised explosive devices (“IED”) have emerged as the biggest
threat to service members in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Cougar vehicles will
be used in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the first deliveries expected to reach
the field by early fall 2005.
“As the Global War on Terror progresses, the needs of the U.S. military
change,” said John Sztykiel, CEO of Spartan Motors, Inc. “Those fluctuating
needs create an opportunity in a micro-niche where Spartan Chassis can quickly
respond to the demand for innovative and immediate solutions.”
Spartan Chassis President Richard Schalter added: “The Cougar vehicles
developed by Force Protection fill an urgent and compelling need and have been
requested, by name, from commands actively engaged in the Global War on
Terror. They provide critical protection and mobility for our troops, and we
are proud to be able to help in the fight. We know we can deliver key
components and greatly assist Force Protection with this strategically
important, American-made response to the proliferation of IEDs.”
“Spartan Chassis is a leader in automotive engineering and quality
manufacturing of specialty, heavy-weight vehicle chassis. We will leverage
their experience to dramatically increase our production rate on the Cougar H
Series line,” said Force Protection CEO Gordon McGilton. “We are proud to
have them as a vital part of our team as we continue to supply U.S. troops
with life-saving technology. Working with Spartan Chassis, there is no
question we will be able to field more vehicles, increasing our production to
meet pressing demands.”
The Cougar H series is a new-to-market family of medium-sized blast-
protected vehicles and is produced in both four- and six-wheel configurations.
It can be customized for multiple tasks including urban patrol, route
clearance support, troop transport, mine and explosive ordnance disposal,
command and control, reconnaissance and as a lead convoy vehicle. Relatively
few Cougars have been deployed in active theaters of operations.
Powerful IEDs — set off by cell phones, doorbells, toy remotes and
tripwires — are now the leading cause of death among U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
The U.S. military is responding to the IED threat through improvements in
personal body armor, improved vehicle armoring, electronic counter-measures,
greater situational awareness and improved training and operational focus.
“The Cougar Joint EOD Rapid Response Vehicle was the first hardened
engineered vehicle delivered to Marine Expeditionary Forces last October. It
has been a success in dramatically upgrading protection levels for Marines
involved in highly dangerous activities such as detection and removal of
explosive devices used by terrorists,” said Mr. Joseph B. Murgo, Program
Manager for the Joint EOD Rapid Response Vehicle, Marine Corps Systems
While the Cougar has been used on a limited basis by the Marines in Iraq
since last fall, this contract marks the first time that other military
services will use the armored vehicle.
“This joint order is a clear indication that our vehicles are recognized
for the solution they provide to the threat of IEDs, land mines and roadside
bombs,” said McGilton. “Our soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen deserve the
very best protection possible against these threats, and they find it in our
Force Protection also produces the Buffalo, a heavyweight blast-protected
vehicle designed principally for mine clearing activities. Like the Cougar,
the Buffalo integrates a blast-resistant capsule with an American-made truck
engine and drive train.
About Spartan Chassis, Inc.:
Spartan Chassis, Inc. (http://www.spartanchassis.com ) is a subsidiary of
Spartan Motors, Inc. and is a leading developer and manufacturer of custom
chassis for recreational vehicles and fire trucks. The company has a
reputation for high quality, value, service and being the first to market with
innovative products. Spartan Motors is publicly traded in the NASDAQ Stock
Market under the ticker symbol SPAR.
About Force Protection, Inc.:
Headquartered near Charleston, South Carolina, Force Protection, Inc.
(OTCBB: FRPT) manufactures ballistic and mine protected vehicles through its
subsidiary. These specialty vehicles are designed to offer significant
protection against landmines, hostile fire and IEDs. For more information
about Force Protection, visit http://www.forceprotectioninc.com .
This release contains forward-looking statements, including, without
limitation, statements concerning our business, future plans and objectives
and the performance of our products. These forward-looking statements involve
certain risks and uncertainties that ultimately may not prove to be accurate.
Actual results and future events could differ materially from those
anticipated in such statements. Technical complications may arise that could
prevent the prompt implementation of the plans outlined above. The company
cautions that these forward-looking statements are further qualified by other
factors including, but not limited to, those set forth in the company’s Form
10-KSB filing and other filings with the United States Securities and Exchange
Commission (available at http://www.sec.gov ). Government contracts and
subcontracts typically involve long payment and purchase cycles, competitive
bidding, qualification requirements, delays or changes in funding, extensive
specification development and changes, price negotiations and milestone
requirements. Government agencies also often retain some portion of fees
payable upon completion of a project and collection of contract fees may be
delayed for long periods, which can negatively impact both prime contractors
and subcontractors. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update
or revise any statements in this release, whether as a result of new
information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
SOURCE: Spartan Chassis, Inc.
CONTACT: Elena M. Younger, Marketing/Public Relations of Spartan
Chassis, Inc., +1-517-543-6400 x111; or Jeff Lambert of Lambert, Edwards &
Associates, Inc., +1-616-233-0500
Web site: http://www.spartanchassis.com