(Newark, N.Y., January 8, 2008) -- Ultralife (NASDAQ: ULBI) has entered into a technology partnership with Mississippi State University (MSU) to develop fuel cell-battery portable power systems enabling lightweight, long endurance military missions. The development of this power system is to be performed under a $1.6 million program that was awarded by a U.S. Defense Department agency to MSU as the prime contractor. MSU has awarded Ultralife a $475,000 contract to participate in this program as a subcontractor.
Under the contract, Ultralife will oversee the development, testing, approval and manufacturing of prototypes of a new compact military battery to be used with handheld tactical radios, building on its ongoing development work under the Land Warrior System Stryker Interoperable Program. In addition, Ultralife will provide engineering support, encompassing defining system requirements and performing design integration and testing tasks, to ensure successful demonstration of the system.
Finally, under the technology partnership with MSU, Ultralife is establishing a development and assembly operation in a 14,000 square-foot facility located in West Point, Mississippi. The City of West Point, Mississippi will be responsible for preparing the facility for occupancy; Ultralife will enter into a three-year lease agreement with the city and will receive job training subsidies. The development and assembly facility is expected to create at least 30 jobs to manufacture products coming out of the technology partnership and other Ultralife products. The company plans to commence operations in the first half of 2008.
"Portable fuel cells offer the promise to power battery chargers for soldiers that can effectively extend mission times and reduce a soldier's carrying weight by allowing use of smaller batteries that are both lighter and last longer," said John D. Kavazanjian, Ultralife's president and chief executive officer. "This program demonstrates our commitment to explore new technologies that can broaden our addressable market without straining our already growing workforce in Newark. We look forward to pursuing additional research opportunities with MSU and to benefiting from future initiatives by the State of Mississippi to support research and development activities."
Mr. Kavazanjian continued, "We would like to express our appreciation to the State of Mississippi and the federal, state and local officials who made possible this opportunity for Ultralife to advance the development of next generation power technologies. MSU's exceptional capabilities in many areas of engineering and technology will be central to our efforts to continue to develop our industry-leading military power products to meet the increasingly demanding requirements of military applications."
"Ultralife is a major player in the power solutions industry and a welcome addition to Mississippi's growing technology-driven economy," Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said. "I am confident that Ultralife has found a solid home in West Point with the technology capabilities, skilled workforce and cooperative spirit our people have to offer growing industries."
Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran said, "Ultralife made a wise decision in choosing West Point as the location for its new facility. The citizens of West Point and the entire Golden Triangle region are hard workers who will be a valuable asset to the productivity of the Ultralife facility. This announcement serves as welcome news to a city that has only recently seen one of its oldest industries close. The City of West Point should be proud of its success in attracting this new business."
Mississippi Senator Roger F. Wicker said, "This is good news for West Point and Clay County and yet another example of a high-tech company with potential to serve commercial and military customers finding the Golden Triangle to be a great place to do business."
West Point Mayor Scott Ross said, "We are excited to welcome Ultralife to our community. I am certain they will discover in West Point an excellent business and industrial climate with a stellar workforce. I would like to thank our economic development partners, the West Point/Clay County Growth Alliance, the North Mississippi Industrial Development Association, the Mississippi Development Authority, Mississippi State University and the Tennessee Valley Authority for a winning collaborative effort to bring this industry-leading high-tech company to West Point."