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The U.S. Army has granted a Plymouth-based manufacturer a $475 million contract to help build armored vehicles that launch rocket artillery.

Loc Performance Products Inc. said Monday it had won its bid to build 625 armored bodies for the Army's Multiple Launch Rocket System, a wheeled artillery vehicle with rocket launchers on the back. Loc is in charge of vehicle's hull where the soldiers sit.

The company is expanding its Lansing factory by 260,000 square feet over the next year and hiring 200 machinists, welders and skilled trades workers over the next 18 months to support its growing operations.

It also is expanding its Plymouth headquarters. In the next two to three weeks, a 60,000-square-foot expansion there will open. Brent Williams, Loc vice president of sales and marketing, said the company has "numerous openings" at its headquarters. Its website lists about 20 positions available at that location.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Loc," Williams said. "The government's a really good customer of ours. We usually can save them millions of dollars. We're lean and very efficient and can supply really good parts at an affordable costs."

Although Loc often designs the products it manufacturers, the U.S. government is providing Loc with the designs for the hull. Production begins in May and will last through 2025.

Williams said the company earned $42 million in revenue in 2014 and is on track to earn $170 million this year. Since 2014, it has received more than $1.1 billion in government contracts.

The manufacturer is holding a job fair 2-6 p.m. Sept. 12 at its Lansing manufacturing facility at 1600 N. Larch St.

Additionally, Loc has a three-year welding apprentice program where students can take classes at its on-site welding school in Lansing, earn an associate's degree and graduate with a $25-per-hour job with Loc.

"Our biggest problem for getting new business is that we can't find enough skilled people to make the parts," Williams said. "We'd grow faster if we can find more people."

bnoble@detroitnews.com

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