Oxford County machine firms get cut of defense act funding

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PARIS — Two Oxford County businesses will benefit from provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed by Congress in December and signed into law Thursday by President Barack Obama.

Maine Machine Products in Paris manufactures parts for the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, or CROWS II, which received $56.7 million in funding to manufacture 240 units, according to a statement from U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, before she retired from office.

The CROWS units are remotely-operated weapon stations mounted atop Humvees that allow operators to sight and fire upon targets from inside armored vehicles. They’re equipped with a machine gun, a grenade launcher, cameras for daytime use and thermal imaging for nighttime.

Maine Machine Products and Arundel Machine Tool in Arundel are both making CROWS parts and Vingtech in Biddeford is doing assembly work.

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Maine Machine Products did not return calls for comment.

The bill also authorizes $606 million in funding for research and development for the CH-53K marine helicopter, which is still under development by Sikorsky Aircraft. Hunting Dearborn of Fryeburg has a contract to make rotor shafts, according to Snowe’s release. According to Sikorsky Aircraft, the CH-53K is set to be the largest, heaviest helicopter ever made with a 30- by 9-foot cabin and three gunner stations.

Hunting Dearborn declined to comment on the contract.

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