By Mr. Mark D Henry (AMC)June 7, 2019
RICHMOND, Ky. -- As the lead munitions sustainer, Joint Munitions Command is responsible for ensuring our Joint Warfighters remain the best-equipped fighting force in the world and receive the right ammo, at the right time, at the right place, every time.
There are numerous examples of processes within ammunition management that ensure the Warfighter has the right ammunition to train, fight, and win. Often, this means thinking creatively to solve a problem.
One example is the High-Explosive 105mm artillery round, which has been used for decades, the M101A1 howitzer being the standard light-field howitzer since World War II and Vietnam. It is an effective highly mobile weapon that is accurate, rapidly deployable, and quickly operational, while providing lethality.
"Following the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on 9/11, renovation of 105mm rounds became a top priority," explained Blue Grass Army Depot Production Controller, Ron Ody, who oversees all aspects of 105mm rounds, from receipt and renovation to shipping or demilitarization.
During ramp up for conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan the M101A1 howitzer was a key weapon for the Joint Forces. However, there was a potential for a shortage of reliable 105 rounds, since the majority of the rounds were produced in the late 1960s and early 1970s and contained propellant either near or past its effective shelf life.
JMC responded quickly to develop and deliver solutions and materiel readiness by ramping up renovation capabilities at BGAD and new-production capabilities at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant.
Renovation efforts became the key to rapidly and cost-effectively closing potential supply gaps in the 105mm line, meeting contingency requirements, and providing the U.S. Joint Warfighters with reliable and lethal ammunition.
"Over the past 18 years, we've renovated hundreds of thousands of 105mm rounds and have been able to implement efficiencies over the years that have resulted in BGAD being able to renovate each round at approximately $100 each," said Ody. Renovation efforts provided a huge cost savings as each newly-produced round comes in at well over $500 each.
"There are multiple steps to the renovating process but the most critical is x-ray capability," added Ody. "Each round is carefully inspected via x-ray to ensure it is a viable round for renovating. If it doesn't pass all the tests, it is targeted for demilitarization. Currently, about one percent of rounds are rejected and demilled."
With a large stockpile of 105 rounds still awaiting renovation, BGAD has become the Lifecycle Management center, inspecting, repairing, renovating, and demilitarizing each round accordingly to support munitions readiness.