Crane Army Ammunition Activity received a 2015 Project Manager for Combat Ammunition Systems Excellence Award for successfully standing up a production source for the 155mm M1122 high explosive projectile in 24 months with a successful First Article and production of 10,000 projectiles six months later.
Through a determined effort by CAAA workers, Crane Army delivered on its promise to provide 10,000 training rounds from a new ammunition line one day ahead of its scheduled deadline of Oct. 1, 2015.
"The success of this project proves that CAAA was able to stand up a facility faster than a contractor could. We were able to leverage CAAA's core competencies of conventional munition demilitarization and renovation to achieve a $100 million cost avoidance for taxpayers by salvaging the bodies of other 155mm projectiles for reuse as training rounds," Saleem Ghazi, Supervisory Program Management Engineer for the Project Manager Combat Ammunition Systems, said.
The 155mm M1122 high explosive, or HE, munition takes old conventional munition rounds and reuses the shells to create a low cost training projectiles for the Army. Crane Army agreed to take on the project in April 2015, but difficulties in setting up the new renovation line and accomplishing the first article test pushed production back to July.
The process involves removing and demilitarizing the submunitions inside the old round, salvaging the old projectile body and base and then loading, assembling and packing the new round.
"The crew was absolutely amazing," Audrey Courson, an explosive operator supervisor assigned to the project, said. "We had a lot of hurdles to cross but we overcame all of them. It wasn't just one person; we had a great bunch of people and you become a family of sorts when you work as hard together as we did."
Aimee Bowling, another supervisor on the team, agreed. "We had a lot of great support from everybody, getting help when needed from the folks in maintenance, the quality assurance division and many others here at CAAA," she said.
The first production line was successfully set up at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. Ghazi said that when PM CAS looked at the projected workload in producing these low-cost training rounds, it became evident that a second line would be needed. When looking for another production source, he said Crane Army became an obvious choice because of their strong reputation and capabilities in demilitarization and manufacturing.
"The team at Crane has become the number one go-to source for a project like this," he said. "Nobody questions a decision to bring stuff to Crane Army."
In appreciation of the hard work of the Crane Army team that accomplished the task of providing 10,000 rounds in a little more than two months, CAAA leadership served a lunch to the workers paid through voluntary contributions. At the ceremony, Ghazi presented the certificate and praised Crane Army's ability to get the job done.
"You guys earned this," he said.
Established October 1977, Crane Army Ammunition Activity maintains ordnance professionals and infrastructure in order to receive, store, ship, produce, renovate and demilitarize conventional ammunition, missiles and related components. It is one of 14 installations of the Joint Munitions Command and one of 23 organic industrial bases under the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which include arsenals, depots, activities and ammunition plants.