OLNEY (KFDX/KJTL) — Olney, Texas: it may be a small town to some, but it’s been home to a major aircraft manufacturer for more than 50 years, producing the world’s best fire fighting and crop dusting planes, and production will soon be expanding in an even bigger way.
“I know that the business is strong now and with the new contract, it just makes us stronger, diversifies us, we’ve got plans in works for additional facilities to facilitate the production of these airplanes as that production ramps up,” Air Tractor President Jim Hirsch said.
That contract that Hirsch is referring to is the multi-million dollar military contract that they’ve been awarded, in partnership with L3 Harris Technologies, for production of up to 75 Sky Warden planes for U.S. Special Operations Command.
Air Tractors’ production of these planes will stay right here in Olney, Texas.
“You’re always looking to grow. You’ve gotta have businesses and opportunities for people to want to move to Olney. Air Tractor is one of the main reasons that people live in Olney and so knowing that they are growing and continuing to thrive is exciting for the whole community. And, we’re just excited for them and this opportunity that they’ve been awarded,” Olney Mayor Rue Rogers said.
Rogers says this contract helps open up new jobs at Air Tractor, which will lead to more people moving to Olney, more people visiting Olney, and more people spending money there to boost their economy.
“Olney’s a great place for business. We have a number of businesses, large and small, and great people, great employees, people that work hard and I think that’s in our DNA here in Olney,” Rogers said.
That’s why Hirsch says he’s proud that Air Tractor gets to continue to be a part of the city for years to come.
“Olney is a great place. The culture for us and our business and our employees is wonderful. As an employee-owned company we fit very well here in Olney,” Hirsch said.
These new planes will carry out intelligence, surveillance, air support, and counterterrorism strikes all around the globe, so if you happen to look up one day and see one just remember.
“You can travel all over the United States and different parts of the world and you can see that yellow crop dusting airplane and you know that it was built right here in Olney Texas,” Rogers said,
Air Tractor will be building the actual planes and then L3 technologies, the prime contractor, will take it from there to put in the mission system, navigation system, and surveillance system.