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Gas Mask Maker Opens R&D Center In Belcamp

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BELCAMP, Md. (AP) — One of the world’s biggest gas-mask makers is opening a research-and-development center in Belcamp, near the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Avon Protection Systems says Democratic Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland is among those speaking at the grand opening Tuesday.

Avon has a contract to produce 500,000 respirators for all branches of the U.S. armed services at a cost of $112 million. The masks are made in Cadillac, Mich. The contract, awarded in 2008, is part of a larger military supply program dating to 2000 that is potentially worth $750 million to the company.

Avon is a unit of Avon Rubber plc of Wiltshire, England. It says the U.S. Defense Department is its biggest customer.

The company also makes protective respiratory masks for military and law enforcement agencies worldwide.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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