Vitro wins Navy contract valued at $39.3 million Rockville company says 5-year pact will save 30 jobs

January 05, 1994|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,Staff Writer

Vitro Corp., a Rockville-based defense contractor, was awarded a Navy contract valued at $39.3 million over five years for work on a weapons system to protect ships from aircraft and rocket attack.

Arthur Rossi, senior vice president of administration, said the award from the Naval Sea Systems Command is for continued work on one of Vitro's largest contracts.

Mr. Rossi said the contract will not add jobs. But, if the company had lost its bid for the work, it would have had to eliminate 30 or more jobs, he said.

The contract is for the Navy's FFG 7 Anti-air Warfare Weapon System.

The computerized equipment is used on Navy frigates and is designed to detect enemy planes or rockets and automatically select and fire the proper Standard missile to destroy the attacker.

Mr. Rossi said Vitro will provide engineering services and serve as the integrator of the system, which involves linking its various parts and ensuring that everything works.

He said that the company has been working on the weapons system for 11 years and that the new contract represents about $8 million a year in business. The company posted sales of about $400 million last year, Mr. Rossi said.

Vitro, which has about 1,800 workers in Montgomery County, was acquired by Texas-based Tracor Inc. last summer for $94 million from Penn Central Corp.

As part of the sales agreement, Penn Central retained some Vitro buildings in Silver Spring, raising concern that Tracor would shift the Vitro operations away from Maryland.

The Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development got involved in the negotiations and, after it provided the company with $1.2 million in retraining money, Tracor agreed to keep Vitro in the state.

Vitro is involved in systems and software engineering services for the Navy, the Air Force and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Navy is Vitro's biggest customer. The company also provides software systems for the submarine-launched Trident missile, the Tomahawk cruise missile and the Aegis air defense systems for military ships.

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