WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. (May 9, 2013) -- The Arsenal announced today that it received a $9.3 million contract to provide 500 60mm mortar bipods for the U.S. Army's TACOM Life Cycle Management Command.

This multimillion dollar order will add to the Arsenal's current workload more than 21,000 hours of direct labor, said Bruce Pienkoski, the Arsenal's program manager for this order.

"The order for raw stock material is currently being drafted and we expect to start manufacturing the bipods in December 2013," Pienkoski said.

The first shipment of bipods is scheduled to leave the arsenal in March 2014 and the order should be complete by December 2014.

Ray Gaston, the Arsenal's chief of the Production Planning and Control Division, said, "This order truly reflects the high confidence the Department of Army has on the arsenal's ability to become the main manufacture of mortar systems, just as we have become for medium and large caliber cannons."

"What was just a few years ago a small part of our overall production, mortar manufacturing for the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and for foreign militaries is today our largest production line," Gaston said. "Although we have been known for more than 100 years as the nation's leading cannon manufacturer, maybe we can now stake the claim to being the nation's premier mortar manufacturer, too."

The 60mm mortar system is used primarily by the infantry as an indirect fire weapon when a high angle trajectory is required to hit enemy troops, materiel, and positions. It has a maximum range of about 3,500 meters.

The bipod consists of several close-tolerance machined parts, such as traversing mechanisms, legs, and barrel collars, that support the barrel when it is in its firing configuration.

The Watervliet Arsenal is an Army-owned-and-operated manufacturing facility and is the oldest, continuously active arsenal in the United States having begun operations during the War of 1812.

Today's Arsenal is relied upon by U.S. and foreign militaries to produce the most advanced, high-tech, high-powered weaponry for cannon, howitzer, and mortar systems. This National Historic Registered Landmark has an annual economic benefit to the local community in excess of $100 million.