Sterling Heights

GDLS shows that Sterling Heights defense industry is thriving; $1.7B in contracts recently announced

What’s happening: When the AI Ground Vehicle Hackathon Challenge was first announced for Thursday, July 13, in Sterling Heights, it seemed like a natural pairing that a defense industry-inspired STEM contest for high schoolers would be hosted in Sterling Heights, home to as robust a defense industry as there is in metro Detroit.

General Dynamics Land Systems, which is headquartered in the city, has been increasingly lending credence to that last claim as of late, having recently announced three separate contracts with the U.S. Army that total more than $1.7 billion in orders.

[Related: Read "Sterling Heights AI hackathon to connect high schoolers with leaders in the defense industry" on Metromode.]

Who they are: A business unit of parent company General Dynamics, itself headquartered in Virginia, General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) is the Sterling Heights-headquartered company that focuses on the design, engineering, and production for land combat vehicles. The company broke ground on their current Sterling Heights headquarters in late 2009.

What they’re building in there: This latest wave of orders from the U.S. Army began in late June, when GDLS announced a $712.3 million order for 300 Stryker DVHA1 vehicles on Monday, June 26. Then, on Tuesday, June 27, the company announced that they were selected for a $768.7 million firm-fixed-price contract “to advance to the detailed design and prototype build and test phases of the XM30 Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle competition,” per a release from the company. And finally, on Thursday, July 6, GLDS announced that they were awarded a $257.6 million contract to produce 26 additional M10 Booker Combat Vehicles for the U.S. Army.

That’s more than $1.7 billion in contracts from the U.S. Army announced in less than two weeks’ time. 

What they’re saying: "We are honored to continue to manufacture the M10 Booker Combat Vehicle," Gordon Stein, General Dynamics Land Systems vice president and general manager for U.S. operations, said about the latest order. "The M10 provides enhanced firepower for the Army's Infantry Brigade Combat Teams and has been purpose-built to give them decisive lethality, mobility and survivability on current and future battlefields.

"We are proud that our years of innovation, research, development and investment have led to this solution for U.S. Soldiers," Stein said.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.