The Marines have ordered another $69.8 million in specially armored vehicles from Force Protection.

The vehicles, known as Cougars, are designed to protect occupants from improvised explosive devices. Force Protection vehicles are being used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The company recently announced plans to build an assembly plant for a smaller line of vehicles known as Cheetahs in Person County.

According to a statement, the Marines want the additional Cougar vehicles before the end of this year. They will be built in conjunction with General Dynamics Land Systems, Force Protection’s joint venture partner.

Force Protection, which faces growing competition for vehicles designed to combat IEDs, has also been criticized for not delivering vehicles on time. Raymond Pollard, the firm’s chief operating officer, said Monday that production was increasing.

“The significance of this order lies in the fact that, with our partners, Force Protection has found yet another production technique to make these strategic assets faster and more efficiently,” Pollard said.

Pollard also said Force Protection has more than field service representatives in the field for training and maintenance.