More than 25 years ago, a need emerged to take unserviceable Navy bombs, refurbish them and return them to the warfighter in like-new condition. A partnership between Crane Army Ammunition Activity and U.S. Naval Air Systems Command formed to keep up with supply and demand, expedite the renovation process and save the taxpayer money.
"The current relationship we have started because Crane provided the ability to economically refurbish our thermally coated bombs as well as our non-thermally coated bombs which no other site could provide at the time," John Hyatt, NAVAIR Assistant Program Manager for Logistics said.
Initially, Crane Army only focused on small scale bomb renovation and did not have a facility to accommodate the larger renovation process. It proposed partnering with NAVAIR to invest in a full scale bomb renovation line. Crane Army worked directly with NAVAIR to develop a design and method that would accommodate large scale bomb renovation, match investment funds and build a full-scale bomb renovation laboratory at Crane.
"It paid for itself in less than two years and it worked out really well," Dave Peel, CAAA project engineer for the Bomb Renovation Lab, said. "We are now the premier fleet return site.
Any NAVAIR bomb that is considered unusable is sent straight to Crane to be renovated."
When bombs come to Crane, they are inspected and tested to determine whether or not they can be repaired. The most common defect making a bomb unusable is when the coating becomes damaged. Most are considered repairable and are placed on a conveyer system to begin the renovating process of thermal coating removal, recoating, curing and palletization.
According to Peel, the explosive limits allowed in specific areas is a unique capability allowing Crane Army to move a lot of product quickly and efficiently to get bombs back into the hands of the warfighter.
This partnership remains beneficial for both parties and Crane Army continues to directly supply and support the warfighter by renovating bombs and shipping them worldwide.
"For us, we benefit because Crane Army provides a very economical service restoring our unserviceable bombs to serviceable condition," Hyatt said. "Working with the NAVAIR model, I'd say there's obviously going to be a future as long as we have bombs, we're going to need to renovate them."
Established Oct. 1977, Crane Army Ammunition Activity produces and provides conventional munitions requirements in support of U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness.