By Kevin Jackson, AMCNovember 4, 2013
McALESTER, Okla. -- McAlester Army Ammunition Plant had a banner year, generating $16.1 million from 26 public-private partnerships in the fiscal year 2013, said Tommy Buckner, chief of the Business Development and Community Outreach Office.
"It's surprised me," he said. "I anticipated this to be one of our slowest years because of the budget cuts."
Buckner said it's been the best year for public-private partnerships for both partnerships and revenue in the past five years.
Work for Textron Defense Systems -- McAlester Army Ammunition Plant's, or MCAAP's, second largest partner -- has a lot to do with its success. The CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon, known as an SFW, contract moved to Oklahoma in 2008, from Kansas Army Ammunition Plant, when it was shuttered by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act.
MCAAP has nearly completed its contract for 600 SFWs with Textron Defense Systems, and has signed a new contract in September to produce another 700, which will increase the value of the partnership to $24.5 million.
The current contract supports Saudi Arabia. Another contract completed last year supported India.
"Our largest revenue producers this [past fiscal] year have been in support of military sales," Buckner said.
Foreign military sales have increased more than 470 percent since fiscal year 2004, according to U.S. Army Materiel Command.
The SFW is a complex system and is the largest partnership between MCAAP and Textron. It contains 10 BLU-108 sub-munitions -- each with four smart Skeet -- that can detect and engage a variety of fixed and moving land and littoral combat targets within a 30-acre radius, according to Textron Defense System.
"This is an incredibly complex electro-mechanical system," said Brian Doherty, director of manufacturing, Textron Defense Systems, headquartered in Wilmington, Mass.
"It requires every function to function properly or the system will fail. As such, what gets done at McAlester is so very critical. Any mistakes on the [production line] can render an entire CBU-107 basically inert," he added.
The SFW is the only air-delivered weapon that meets the stringent unexploded ordnance criteria for a clean battlefield established by the U.S. Secretary of Defense, in June 2008.
Doherty said that numerous verification tests have shown the SFW to have a dud rate of less than one percent to meet the requirements of unexploded ordnance. He said that the most recent flight test performance at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. was "flawless, which is a testimony to the work done here at McAlester."
The MCAAP workforce is solely responsible for loading, packing and assembling the SFW.
"As far as we're concerned, McAlester is the lynchpin to our program," he said. "What gets done here is the critical portion of the process. We have very high confidence in the work that is done here."
"I see it every time I come here -- the working relationship between the Textron team and the McAlester team is fantastic. To me it's just one team," Doherty added.
Other weapons systems MCAAP has built for Textron Defense Systems include the Clean, Light Aerial Weapon, the Guided, Clean, Light Aerial Weapon, and the XM1100 Scorpion, which it is no longer building.
MCAAP's history of public-private partnerships began in 1994, when the plant teamed with Raytheon Company to integrate the All Up Round to the HARM missile.
MCAAP maintains numerous public-private partnership contracts, some of which include the Joint Stand Off Weapon and Excalibur with Raytheon Company, and the Harpoon and general purpose bombs with General Dynamics.
McAlester Army Ammunition Plant is the Department of Defense's premier bomb and warhead loading facility, and is one of 14 industrial facilities in the Joint Munitions Command. It is vital to ammunition stockpile management and delivery to the joint warfighter for training and combat operations.
Editor's note: This article has been updated since it was published in the September 2013 edition of Army Materiel Command's Successful Partnering newsletter.