Composite Projects to Receive Funding Under US Defence Bill

18 June 2004

The US Army Centre of Excellence: Advanced Structures in Composites in Construction project, and the ""Maine Monolite"" project are to receive a total of $4 million investment for 2005.

US Congressman Michael H. Michaud disclosed the funding details for 2005 which are part of the Defence Appropriations bill. Specifically, Michaud obtained $2 million for the Army Centre of Excellence and $2 million for the Mobile Thermal Perimeter Surveillance System project. Both projects combined are estimated to create hundreds of jobs in the state of Maine.

Michaud said. ""Funding for these types of projects is extremely scarce and very competitive, and I have been working every day to make sure that these projects were given close consideration. The committee has been great about recognizing the potential of these projects and responding.""

Michaud explained that this kind of investment will “help create high-tech manufacturing jobs and support U.S. Army procurement needs. This funding is critical to areas in our state that have been devastated by manufacturing job loss.""

The University of Maine's proposed U.S. Army Centre of Excellence will focus on addressing the U.S. Army needs in fundamental and applied research related to uses of advanced composite materials and structures in construction. The university plans to use its wood composite technology to potentially build bridges, bunkers, housing, piers and storage facilities that can be carried easily and constructed quickly for military purposes.

""Earlier this month, I toured the Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Centre with United States Army General Paul Kern, the head of Army Material Command, and explained to him the tremendous economic benefit of this centre for our state,"" Michaud said. ""I am so pleased to have secured this funding -- it has tremendous potential of being a future economic engine in our state.""

The Centre, by partnering with over 90 Maine composite materials manufacturers, will generate new defence high-tech manufacturing and research and development jobs in the Maine state in the same manner that Bath Iron Works has accomplished through Navy contracts.

""We are very delighted that Congressman Michaud has been able to secure this very important funding for this centre on the House-side, it is the first-step in establishing the centre in the Army budget,"" Dr. Habib J. Dagher, AEWC Director and Professor of Civil Engineering.

In April, Monolite Composites of Tualatin, Oregon, announced plans to start a company in Bath known as Maine Monolite to produce raw Monolite, a lightweight, malleable composite material that supposedly can withstand bullets and temperatures of up to 2,850 degrees. The company also planned to start a company in Millinocket, which would fabricate the composite into highly efficient engines and armoured, multipurpose vehicles with military uses.

""The viability of the Monolite material for proposed products as well as the potential market within the U.S. Armed Forces is very encouraging,"" Michaud stated. ""With this potential defence funding, we are one step closer in making this project a reality for our region, an area so hard hit by job loss.""

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