Taylor Defense Products in Louisville has won a $261.7 million competitive bid contract to build cranes for the U.S. Army.

The contract work is expected to extend through November of 2024 to produce commercial cranes modified for military use, said U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, who announced the contract award on Tuesday.

Taylor Defense is part of Mississippi based The Taylor Group, which owns several manufacturing companies. The company dates back to 1927 with the creation of Taylor Machine Works in Louisville. Taylor employs about 1,200 employees and has annual sales of $550 million. The Taylor Group is one of the largest heavy lift manufacturers in the United States.

Taylor Defense in May was awarded a $1.27 million contract to develop a modernized rough terrain container handler for the Army and in June 2019 was selected by the Marine Corps for an $84 million, 10-year contract to repair and maintain all-terrain cranes.

In a statement, Hyde-Smith said: “I commend Taylor on its successful bid, which will benefit our national defense and our state’s economy.”

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Geoff Pender serves as senior political reporter, working closely with Mississippi Today leadership on editorial strategy and investigations. Pender brings 30 years of political and government reporting experience to Mississippi Today. He was political and investigative editor at the Clarion Ledger, where he also penned a popular political column. He previously served as an investigative reporter and political editor at the Sun Herald, where he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Originally from Florence, Mississippi, Pender is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and has received numerous awards throughout his career for reporting, columns and freedom of information efforts.