Exide Technologies has signedÂ a five-year, $30.7 million cost-sharing agreementÂ with the U.S. government under the Defense Production Act Title III program to automate and modernize submarine batteries manufacturing processes at a company facilityÂ in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Under the agreement, theÂ company will receiveÂ $18.7 million in DPA grant funds and invest $12 million to adoptÂ new systems designed to increase production ofÂ flooded and valve-regulated lead-acid batteries for the U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarines, ExideÂ said Tuesday.
The grant is meant to help the company implementÂ quality control,Â data collection and process flow automation equipment at its manufacturing facility as part of Project Neptune.
â€œFor the past several decades, Exide has been a supplier of submarine batteries to the U.S. Navy, a business that we are proud to serve,â€ said Vic Koelsch, Exide president and CEO.
â€œThrough this grant, and the support from the State of Arkansas, Exide employees will be able to continue to provide premium performance batteries for use in our countryâ€™s defense systems,”Â Koelsch added.
Battery systems produced at Fort Smith can serveÂ as an emergencyÂ AC/DC backup power onÂ nuclear submarines andÂ supportÂ the watercraft’s communications, lighting, controls and vital life support systems, according to Exide.
Project Neptune startedÂ this monthÂ and is scheduled to be completed in August 2021.