A Biddeford company is a finalist for a federal contract for up to $151.8 million for a sighting system for the Army’s newest class of grenade launchers.

Vingtech, which opened in Biddeford in 2007, is in competition with Wilcox Industries Corp. of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to win the contract, which will be awarded in three phases through March 2022, according to Peter Rowland, a senior operations specialist with the organization managing the Army’s sighting system programs. This type of contract is often used in a developmental program because it spurs competition, Rowland said.

Jim Lebel, Vingtech’s vice president, said he hopes the Army chooses the Vingtech system.

“We’re still in the developmental stage, our different designs in competition with each other, and we just have to let it play out and see which one the Army likes the best,” said Lebel. “We hope to have some really good news in the coming months, news that could mean more jobs for Maine.”

The government plans to chose one of the finalists to receive the production portion of the contract after evaluating and testing out prototype designs, Rowland said.

The sighting system will be used on the Heckler & Koch M320, a 40-millimeter, single-shot grenade launcher that can fire high explosive, armor piercing and illuminating rounds as well as non-lethal ones.

Vingtech employs about 35 people and is owned by Rheinmetall Defence of Germany.

In other defense contract news, Howell Laboratories Inc. of Bridgton, a water and purification systems maker and an employee-owned business, received a small business set-aside contract for up to $10 million for membrane element assemblies for the U.S. Navy in Maine. The company, founded in 1964, manufacturers chlorinators, dehydrators and measuring equipment found on most U.S. military surface ships and submarines.


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