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VALLEY FOCUS | Valleywide

2 Local Firms in Line for Defense Contracts

June 19, 1998|TOM SCHULTZ

Two Valley defense industry firms soon might provide the federal government with new radar, antenna and minesweeping devices.

The House Appropriations Committee recently approved $8 million for the Air National Guard to purchase a type of air traffic control radar system developed by ITT Gilfillan of Van Nuys.

The committee also approved $4 million for the military to fund development of antennas that transmit reconnaissance information via satellites, a technology that ITT Gilfillan is developing.

The funds are part of the $250-billion defense appropriations bill for fiscal year 1999, a bill that could be considered by the House next week, said Doug Campbell, a spokesman for Rep. Howard Berman (D-Mission Hills).

"We're pretty confident this money will stay in [the bill]," Campbell said.

The bill also calls for $2 million for development of devices that can clear mines from bodies of water with minimal human involvement.

Navy divers often must clear mines underwater, but the Navy wants a device that can locate the mines on its own, said Mike Charley, vice president of business development for L-3 Communications, Ocean Systems of Sylmar.

The firm is the sole American company developing such a device, which makes the company a prime candidate to work with the Navy on the technology, Charley said.

In a statement, Berman said he was pleased with the committee's approval of the funds and their potential: "This money will help preserve good jobs in the Valley and hopefully create some new ones."

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