In December 2010, the Dutch Ministerie van Defensie signed a 10-year, EUR 200 million (about $270 million) framework agreement with Rheinmetall Defence that lets the Netherlands order a wide range of different ammunition and pyrotechnic types, from bullets and propellant charges to grenades. The first order was actually placed at the end of 2010, and involved modular propellant charges for the army’s PzH 2000NL self-propelled 155mm howitzers.
This contract replaces several existing agreements. The Dutch Army already relies on Rheinmetall for nearly all its ammunition needs, including practice and service ammunition in multiple calibers. Assured access to supllies at short notice is therefore part of the agreement. So, too, is external storage and management. The end result moves toward more of a “just in time” ammunition supply model. As a bonus, the Dutch MvD no longer has to pay value-added tax on purchases within this contract.
Dutch and German cooperation between their defense procurement groups forms a related facet of this partnership. The Dutch DMO and German BWB will undertake joint development, testing, purchasing and storage for 6 ammunition types: 44 mm and 76 mm grenades, 120 mm tank shells, 155 mm PzH-2000 howitzer ammunition, and Panzerfaust rockets. They will also share test data, and make use of each other’s testing facilities and equipment. As an initial example, a Dutch PzH-2000NL that is already in South Africa for long range and precision ammunition tests, which cannot be performed at any range in Europe, will be used by the Germans for their own tests. All results from both countries’ tests will then be shared. MvD [in Dutch | English] | Rheinmetall Defence.
In July 2005, “Pass The Ammunition: Army Taking Action on Small-Cal Shortages” began covering some of the steps the US Defense Department was taking to address this issue. Few reserves, a low production rate, and some of the oldest assembly-line machines on the supply side, coupled with skyrocketing demand, had made for a difficult situation. The Us military went on the invest substantial funds, in order to help modernize the World War 2 era Lake City ammunition plant, which had become the USA’s sole source of small caliber military ammunition.
Even so, the situation was creating both front line shortages, and strategic risk. In 2005, therefore, the Army took steps to move General Dynamics into an important second source supply role, and awarded GD OTS a substantial contract…
$372 million in US Army orders for small caliber ammunition. (May 3/10)
On March 20/09, Alliant Techsystems (ATK) in Minneapolis, MN received a 4-year indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity contract (W52P1J-09-D-0027) from the US Army Sustainment Command in Rock Island, IL to produce 5.56mm, 7.62mm and .50-caliber ammunition at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP) in Independence, MO. The contract has a potential value of $2 billion.
ATK began operating the LCAAP in 2000 and is the largest supplier of small-caliber ammunition to the US military, producing a mix of 5.56mm, 7.62mm, .50-caliber, and 20mm cartridges, as well as ammunition links.
Working in partnership with the Army, ATK has expanded manufacturing capacity at the plant, and is also under contract to modernize the facility…
Olin Corp.’s Winchester Division in East Alton, IL received $43.4 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity with firm-fixed-price orders for .50 calibre M903 saboted light armor penetrator (SLAP) and M962 saboted light armor penetrator tracer (SLAPT) bulk and the 4 ball (M903) to 1 tracer (M962) configuration.
The .50 caliber SLAP ammunition was developed by the US military during the mid/late 1980s for the M2 heavy machine gun, known as “Ma Deuce.” It uses a reduced caliber, heavy metal (tungsten) .30 inch diameter penetrator wrapped in a plastic sabot or “shoe” of .50 inch diameter.
Alliant Techsystems (ATK) in Minneapolis, MN received an $86 million base-with-option contract to provide lightweight (LW) 30mm M789 High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) tactical ammunition for the AH-64D Apache attack helicopter. The U.S. Army Contracting Command’s Rock Island Contracting Center in Rock Island, IL manages the contract. Alliant expects to begin production in December 2009 at the company’s facilities in Elk River, MN; Radford, VA; and Rocket Center, WV.
In a September 2008 letter justifying the use of ATK as the sole supplier of LW30mm M789 HEDP ammunition, the US Department of the Army said that the depletion of stocks from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan prompted the order. There are several reasons that this weapon has been so popular…
June 11/09: Agility Logistics subsidiary Taos Industries Inc. in Huntsville, AL won a $30.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for 33,400,938 rounds of “various non standard ammunition” for the Republic of Iraq. Work is to be performed in Huntsville, AL until Oct 29/10. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web, with 3 bids received by the Rock Island Contracting Center in Rock Island, IL (W52P1J-09-C-0026). See also firm release.
Taos has also been contracted by Rock Island to supply “non-standard” ammunition to Afghan Army forces, in the wake of the AEY scandal. In these cases, “non-standard” means non-NATO standard. The Soviet caliber 7.62×39 ammunition used in AK-47 type assault rifles would qualify; Iraq is phasing them out in favor of the American 5.56mm M4 carbine, but Iraqi forces operates some. Likewise, the 7.62x54mm ammunition used in Iraq’s Dragunov sniper rifles and PKM light machine guns is a non-NATO caliber, and hence “non standard.” In Afghanistan, Taos is also supplying 12.7 x 108 mm ammunition for Soviet heavy machine guns, and 70.5mm PG-7VM rocket propelled grenades.
ATK subsidiary Federal Cartridge Co. in Anoka, MN received a $49.9 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for .300 Winchester magnum ammunition. Maximum quantity is 80,100 boxes of 480 rounds each, minimum is 117 boxes. This ammunition will be used by U.S. forces engaged in combat, and by the US Navy in Match Team competition.
300 Winchester offers longer range, better accuracy, and more hitting power than standard NATO 7.62 x 51 mm rounds. The MK248 MOD 1 cartridge grew out of the .300 Winchester Magnum Product Improvement Program…
Think of RFID as wireless bar codes that don’t need to be swiped individually. The US military has invested heavily in RFID for its supply chain; recent years have begun to feature positive results, as well as the creation of an RFID solutions center near Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. The next-stage challenge is creating logistics networks that interoperate with allies to interoperate with systems like AGATRS to handle shipment, billing, and more.
Now Lockheed Martin subsidiary Savi Technology has been awarded a contract Army Sustainment Command on behalf of the U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command (JMC). The initial $4 million contract would use Savi’s Munitions Total Management Systems-Field Module (MTMS-FM) to support depot-level ammunition logistics functions, and additional options that could drive its value higher over time. Savi Technologies release.
Lockheed Martin acquired Savi in May 2006. The firm has worked with the US military for over a decade to build their RF In-Transit Visibility (ITV) network, which spans more than 45 countries and tracks military supplies through 4,000 sites. The current RFID II contract, which totals almost half a billion dollars, belongs to Savi.
The GPS-guided M982 Excalibur artillery shell is not an anti-tank round, unlike the SMArt 155 shells Australia bought in October 2007. Excalibur’s accuracy brings its own capabilities, however, including precise counter-fire at enemy artillery and mortars located via projectile-tracking radars. Its shells can also target a particular building near troops under fire, providing a much faster, cheaper, and more reliable alternative to close air support fighters with precision-guided bombs. Both of these capabilities are important on the front-lines, where Australian troops are engaged.
DID readers will recall Australia’s LAND 17 artillery replacement contract, currently underway, aimed at purchasing a new set of towed and mobile 155mm howitzers capable of firing shells like SMArt 155 and the M982 Excalibur. In the mean time, however, a secondary solution is available – and Australia appears to have submitted a modified request…
Reports surfaced in late March 2008 that a company with several hundred million dollars worth of contracts, acting as the main supplier of munitions to Afghanistan’s army and police forces, has been delivering substandard ammunition and violating military export regulations. It operated out of an unmarked office in Miami Beach, FL, and employed a 22 year old licensed masseur as its Vice President. Naturally, a number of readers recommended it as DID’s lead April Fool’s Day story. Unfortunately, the story is not a joke.
In March 2007, “$298M to AEY for Ammo in Afghanistan” covered one of the firm’s key contracts. As of March 25/08, however, AEY, Inc. is barred from future contracts with any agency of the US government, and is under investigation by the Department of Defense’s inspector general and by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Complaints include the quality and origins of ammunition it provided, and allegations of corruption.
Now an investigation by Government Executive Magazine may help shed light on how the firm was able to win the contracts it received. Apparently, it helps to be a “small, disadvantaged business”…