WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. -- Now that the dust has settled from the last Army-Navy game, defense contractor OTO Melara North America, Inc. announced that it will bring U.S. Navy business back to the Army’s Watervliet Arsenal after an absence of many years.

The Watervliet Arsenal welcomed its newest civilian tenant, OTO Melara, in a ceremony here on June 16 that was heralded by local political leaders as a major step toward retaining skilled manufacturing jobs in New York’s Capital District.

Watervliet Mayor Michael Manning said “The arsenal is a significant part of the city and when the arsenal does well, the city does well and so, we are very excited about OTO Melara coming to the arsenal and the possibilities that it brings for new jobs.”

After nearly two years of planning, OTO Melara signed a lease this month that will bring maintenance, repair, and overhaul depot work for the 76 mm gun components to the Arsenal. Up to 25 new jobs could be brought to the arsenal within the next 18 months.

Mike Newell, the vice president of supply chain and logistics operations for OTO Melara, added “We have a lot of components the Navy needs to repair and we are going to start repairing them here.”

“The vision is to start assembling guns, naval guns, 76 mm, which is approximately a 3-inch naval gun, here at the arsenal and we hope to start doing that in the very near future,” Newell said.

Col. Mark F. Migaleddi, commander of the Watervliet Arsenal, said that this event was more than just another ceremony for the arsenal in that the ceremony symbolized continued hope for the long-term viability of the arsenal.

“The potential synergistic relationship with OTO Melara is almost limitless in terms of manufacturing, maintenance, and repair, and is another significant step toward the arsenal becoming more self-sufficient,” Migaleddi said.

Migaleddi added that it should not surprise anyone that today’s arsenal is viable, thriving, and a great, secure place for all types of manufacturers to conduct business.

“This grand opening does not mark a change for the arsenal,” Migaleddi added. “It is simply another step the arsenal has been taking for nearly 200 years to strategically transform its capability and capacity to remain relevant to the needs of our Nation.”

The company is part OTO Melara SpA of Italy, which is a global supplier of sophisticated military equipment to more than 50 countries. OTO Melara’s 76 mm naval gun has been in use by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard since the early 1970s.

OTO Melara established a presence at the arsenal under a Congressionally-funded program called the Arsenal Support Program Initiative. The ASPI program, which is essentially a public-private partnership, intends to encourage commercial firms, to the maximum extent practicable, to use Army arsenals for commercial purposes with the intent to reduce the cost of government ownership of Army arsenals.

As of today, the Watervliet Arsenal has 31 military and civilian tenants.

But work for the Navy is not new for the arsenal. From the manufacturing of 16-inch guns for battleships to the manufacturing of Terrier missiles, which was the principal air defense weapon system for missile cruisers and destroyers in the 1960s, the Arsenal has been a part of providing high quality products to America’s Navy for more than 100 years.