BAE Systems Awarded Contract to Modernize Ammunition Plant

By Mandy Mayfield

Photo: BAE Systems

BAE Ordnance Systems Inc. was recently awarded multiple contracts from the Army totaling $292.7 million for modernization and construction at the Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Kingsport, Tennessee.

The Army is funding several initiatives that will modernize current operations and help reduce the plant’s environmental impacts, said Chris Finley, communications manager at BAE.

One major project is the $158 million replacement of a coal-fired power supply to a natural gas facility installment, Finley said.

“The new natural gas-fired steam facility will be cleaner, more efficient and reduce emissions while providing a higher degree of reliability — all in support of our mission,” he added.

The company was also awarded a $74.7 million Army contract in January to construct a recrystallization and slurry coating formulation facility.

The new plant will utilize new capabilities to “dewater” and “recrystallize” material to prepare it for further processing. Recrystallization is the chemical process of dissolving explosives in a solvent to create crystals of a desired size, Finley said.

The estimated completion date of the project is 2021.

In the final phase of modernization, BAE will utilize a $60 million award to construct a fluid energy mill facility. Fluid energy mill technology utilizes compressed air to grind particles down as required.

As modernization programs at Holston continue, an industrial waste water treatment facility expansion is slated to be completed by the end of the year, Finley noted.
That’s not to say there have not been bumps along the road at Holston. There was an explosion at the plant associated with the controlled burning of a building in early January, Finley confirmed.

“The investigation into the accident is ongoing,” he said. “Both the Army and BAE Systems continue working with investigators to determine what caused the fire and explosion.”
The incident delayed several projects, which were able to restart about a week later, Finley said.

BAE Systems has been contracted to operate the Holston plant since 1999. During World Word II, under contract with Tennessee Eastman Corp., the plant manufactured Composition B, a powerful explosive that is used in land mines, hand grenades and other munitions.

Topics: Army News, Munitions Technology

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