WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. -- The Tank-automotive and Armaments Command’s commanding general, Maj. Gen. Darren Werner, challenged arsenal leaders and key stakeholders to develop a plan to modernize the arsenal’s chrome plating process within the next 30 days during a meeting held September 8.
“This is probably the most important thing that you are going to do this week, this month or maybe this year,” Werner said. “This is a synchronization event that brings everyone sitting at this table together so that we can look out into the future and ensure that in 2050, the gun tubes being produced here at Watervliet are the absolute best in the world. That is our goal and our objective.”
The team had gathered to tackle the difficult task of creating a path towards modernization of the arsenal’s chrome plating process.
The arsenal has been using chrome as a protective surface coating on components produced at the army installation for more than 80 years. While the process provides a durable finish to cannons and major components, it poses risks to workers and environmental concerns that the army has pushed to eliminate. The challenge is to develop a process that increases safety for workers while providing previous levels of durability and protection for weapon systems.
Senior managers presented several technologies that would modernize Watervliet Arsenal’s chrome plating process and offer new, durable coatings and processes to meet future weapon requirements. Some of the technologies discussed included safer, more advanced surface coating technologies along with new machining capabilities.
Over the next month, arsenal leaders will work with program managers for major systems to develop a path forward. Leaders intend to coordinate new processes with maintenance planned for the chrome facility in 2022.
“These are the priorities we need to get after,” Werner said. “Our primary course of action is to develop production lines that enable production of rifled gun tubes, smooth-bore gun tubes and mortars. Within each of those areas, we are delivering capabilities that allow expansion or contraction of production rates based on requirements.”
Watervliet Arsenal is an Army-owned-and-operated manufacturing facility and is the oldest continuously active arsenal in the United States, having begun operations during the War of 1812. Today’s arsenal is relied upon by the U.S. and foreign militaries to produce the most advanced, high-tech, high-powered weaponry for cannons, howitzers and mortar systems.