The Picatinny, N.J.-based Program Executive Office for Ammunition and the Rock Island, Ill.-based U.S. Army Sustainment Command are spending $23 million with Alliant Techsystems (ATK) to have the firm design a new nitric acid concentrator/sulfuric acid concentrator (NAC/SAC) for the Radford Army Ammunition Plant and to install new cutters and de-flakers in the nitrocellulose production facility.
The Radford Army Ammunition Plant is a government-owned, contractor-operated military installation supplying solvent and solventless propellant and explosives to the armed forces. The facility is located in the mountains of southwest Virginia in Pulaski and Montgomery counties in what is known as the New River Valley.
Edina, Minn.-based ATK operates the Radford Army Ammunition Plant under a contract from the U.S. Army.
According to ATK, the NAC/SAC is an important piece of equipment that allows the plant to capture chemicals from the energetics manufacturing process, refortify them and reuse them. The new cutters and de-flakers will ensure that the nitrocellulose propellant particles are uniform and optimized to meet the high-quality standards for today's high-tech weapons.
ATK noted that the existing NAC/SAC is 28 years old and is at the end of its useful life. Replacing it not only will save energy and reduce emissions but also will help ensure that the Radford Army Ammunition Plant is able to continue operating reliably for years to come, the company said.
“This is particularly important, given the more than 1,300 jobs the plant provides in the New River Valley and its role as the top producer of propellant and energetics for the Department of Defense,” ATK said in a news release.
ATK, in partnership with the Army, currently is managing a total of $43 million in modernization projects at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant. According to the company, all are on schedule and on budget. In addition to the NAC/SAC, the projects include improvements to the facility's powerhouse and steam distribution system that will improve efficiency and reduce emissions.