BAE Systems this week received a contract modification that will help maintain the company's workforce in York County.

The $6.9 million modification is for work on an Army contract that is being fulfilled at the defense contractor's site in West Manchester Township.

In November, BAE was awarded a $668 million contract for work on Paladin artillery vehicles, upgrading the Army combat machines with a new chassis, engine, transmission, suspension, steering system and improved survivability.

The modification to that contract will pay for spare parts on 18 vehicles.

Work on the contract will be completed by Sept. 30.

Local BAE workers are also working on another Paladin contract that runs through 2016.

The Paladin contracts represent multi-year work for the York County site and help maintain the local industrial base, said BAE spokesman Randy Coble.

But it's still a challenging time for the local manufacturer, he said.

As the U.S. Department of Defense budget has decreased, so has the work for BAE and its suppliers.

President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2013 budget outlines a production break for the Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicle program, beginning this year and possibly extending through 2017.

BAE officials said earlier this year that the company would have to cut 250 local manufacturing jobs, plus additional jobs and support staff.

The two Paladin contracts help mitigate that loss, Coble said.

"The contracts help maintain the workload at York, but they aren't a complete solution to the problem. The contracts help maintain existing jobs at York, but will not add any jobs," he said.

—Reach Candy Woodall at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.