SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) _ A $289 million contract for continued production of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle for the U.S. Army has been awarded to FMC Corp.'s ground systems division, the company said Thursday.

Work on the 334 infantry and 216 cavalry Bradley Fighting Vehicles and 44 Bradley carriers for the multiple launch rocket system will be done at the company's Santa Clara plant. Delivery is scheduled between May 1, 1989, and April 30, 1990.

The contract provides $280 million for the products, and $9 million in a price-incentive contract to provide engineering support in production.

Last December, Pentagon officials told Congress they planned to thicken the armor on the vehicle to make it 50 percent ''more survivable'' in battle. Other changes announced included redesigning the fuel system, moving some ammunition around inside the crew compartment and developing explosive armor.

The first Bradley Fighting Vehicle was delivered in 1982. FMC, based in Chicago, delivered about 3,100 Bradleys out of an order of 6,880 for $1.55 million each as of last December. Most of the vehicles have been stationed in Europe.

Congressional, Army and FMC records show numerous mechanical and electrical components on the vehicle designed as an amphibious armored personnel carrier have failed repeatedly in recent years.

But Col. Franklin Trapnell, system manager for the Bradley at the Army's Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Benning, Ga., has said that the vehicle may have flaws but going into a war without it would ''cause us to lose and do a lot of dying in the process.''