ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Officials cut the ribbon on the Anniston Munitions Center's new Multiple Launch Rocket System Recycle Facility in a May 17 ceremony.
Located in Anniston Army Depot's 13,000 acre Ammunition Limited Area, the MLRS processing center will enable the Army to demilitarize the MLRS warheads, recycle the metal parts and reduce the aging munitions at a lower cost of previous options.
"After today, we have a state-of-the-art facility that uses advanced robotic technology to increase precision, throughput and, most important of all, safety for our workforce," said Lisha Adams, executive deputy to the commanding general for Army Materiel Command.
The project, 10 years in the making, is made possible through a partnership with Product Support Director for Demilitarization, the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command Missile Demilitarization Office, the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research and Development and Engineering Center and several contracting firms.
"This has been a combined journey," said Art Ather, director of the Tactical Missile Demilitarization Directorate at AMCOM as he thanked the employees from the various organizations who had a hand in bringing the MLRS recycling capability to fruition.
The ceremony focused on the people, both present and retired, who contributed to the project as well as the partnerships which made the new facility possible.
The center was constructed from the ground up by CH2M at a cost of $34 million.
"There are still a few months remaining on the contract, which ends August 2018. This time is reserved for technical oversight," said Dorothy Richards with the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center in the Huntsville Ordnance Design Center.
This facility was designed, built and tested to implement a safe capability for the closed system of demilitarization of M26 MLRS warheads and M77 sub-munitions. The new ANMC warhead processing capability allows for the complete closed disposal of MLRS warheads with associated energetics and the recycling of scrap metal effluents.
The M77 grenade thermal-closed disposal process is an automated operation to dismantle the grenade. It thermally treats energetics in the grenades and fuses, resulting in empty grenade bodies and copper cones.
"This capability will save the taxpayers millions of dollars over the life of this program," said Col. Craig McIlwain, ANMC commander.
The Thermal Treat Center Disposal Process consists of the following stations and processes: shear off station, grenade inverting station, press station, copper cone removal station, grenade transfer device, grenade ignition station, off gas treatment and scrap collection.
Full system low rate initial production was completed in April and full rate production is expected to begin later this fiscal year.