The Army has awarded a $20 million contract to an Ogdensburg facility to produce the Advanced Bomb Suit Ensemble and spare parts.

U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and north country Congressman Bill Owens made the announcement Friday.

The suits are made by Med-Eng, a company formerly owned by Allen-Vanguard and sold this week to the Safariland Group.

The Advanced Bomb Suit Ensemble is worn by U.S. soldiers around the world when they dispose of explosives, including improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The Army estimates the contract will last through September of 2018.

The contract will sustain 20 jobs in Ogdensburg.
In March, General Lloyd Austin, Commander of U.S. Army's Central Command (USCENTCOM), testified before the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee that IEDs are "the most persistent and lethal weapon confronting our forces, those of our partner nations, and local populaces."

He noted that, on average, there were 172 IED incidences per month over the last two years in USCENTCOM's Area of Responsibility, which includes the Middle East.

The majority of IED incidences occur in Afghanistan, he said.