Costa Mesa ceramics maker Ceradyne on Monday announced it won a contract worth up to $611.7 million to make body armor for the U.S. military. The company has sold "hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars" of armor to the military over the past six years, Ceradyne Chief Executive Joel Moskowitz said, but the new order is its largest to date.
"This is very important to Ceradyne and this is very important to the military, since we're saving the lives of soldiers every day," Moskowitz said. "Sometimes they send us e-mails [saying] 'Thank you for saving my life; thank you for saving my captain's life; or thank you for saving my buddy's life.' "
The contract could last up to 60 months. The military can order armor as needed, up to the $611.7-million total, Moskowitz said. The orders will be for a new type of side armor; the company already makes armor that protects the front and back of soldiers.