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Contract means more jobs for Exelis

Three new contracts valued at a combined $500 million have Exelis Geospatial Systems officials looking to hire 15 to 20 engineers, scientists and technicians at their Fort Wayne operation.

But those deals could be the tip of the iceberg, said Eric Webster, the New York company’s vice president of weather systems.

If customers exercise options included in those contracts, the local operation would have $1 billion in orders that will keep about 400 local Exelis workers busy through 2020, Webster said.

“And I’m not done,” he said. “I want to get out there and get more work.”

Exelis will build its third weather satellite instrument for NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

One such instrument is in use today, and another is on pace for delivery by Exelis this year.

The newest order is scheduled for delivery in 2018. NASA has an option to order three more like it.

Exelis has also landed two contracts that allow it to broaden its product portfolio.

The first is for technology that will measure carbon dioxide and methane gas for Japan.

The goal, as part of efforts to deal with climate change, is to learn how much of the gases now exist on Earth.

Japanese officials are already talking about the possibility of ordering more work from Exelis.

The second contract is for technology that will measure how much of the sun’s energy is absorbed by clouds, how much is reflected to Earth and how much is bounced away from the planet’s atmosphere, officials said.

The contract for NASA is for one radiation budget instrument with the option of two more devices to be delivered in 2018, Webster said.

The information these earth science-related instruments gather will help world leaders make critical decisions in the future, he said.

Anyone interested in the new positions may apply through the Exelis website,, the company said.