Wellman Dynamics Corp., an aluminum and magnesium foundry in Creston, IA, has earned a Defense Production Act Title III award in the amount of $15.7 million from the U.S. Army Contracting Command. As a condition of the award, Wellman must fund a matching investment of $7.9 million for a total package of $23.6 million.
That amount will fund an unspecified "plant modernization" to address rising demand for aluminum and magnesium sand castings. Wellman produces those castings for military and commercial helicopter manufacturing, including Marine One, the USMC rotary aircraft built by Lockheed Martin Corp.'s Sikorsky Aircraft unit, which is designated for service to the President of the United States.
“Our customers include many of the world’s leading producers of military and commercial helicopters, aircraft engines, and missile systems,” stated Jim Pinto, Wellman Dynamics CEO. “Our customers rely on Wellman to supply some of the largest and most complex sand castings in the world. After years of negligible investment, the business is now positioned to modernize the plant operations into a world-class foundry.”
The Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III program ensures timely availability of essential domestic industrial resources, to support national defense and homeland security requirements through the use of economic incentives. "Specifically, the program is designed to create, maintain, protect, expand, or restore domestic industrial base capabilities," according to the U.S. Dept. of Defense.
Wellman Dynamics noted its Title III award will support ongoing and "next generation" work on military aircraft and missile programs, notably including the Black Hawk, Apache, and Osprey rotary aircraft systems.
“This investment will build on recent investments of over $6 million since the assets of the company were purchased by Trive Capital out of bankruptcy in May 2018," Pinto continued. “Plans include new capabilities and added capacity, along with upgrades to power systems and state-of-the-art radiography capabilities."
Beyond the $23.6-million investment, Wellman will invest an undetermined amount to add "a standalone facility to produce aluminum castings for the U.S. military’s next-generation of heavy lift and attack helicopters." Sikorsky and Boeing are collaborating to develop a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft called SB>1 Defiant as part of the DoD's Future Vertical Lift development program, which would introduce a new family of military helicopters for various functions.