By Nancy Gray, Public AffairsMay 16, 2011
On Wednesday, 4 May 2011, Holston Army Ammunition Plant (HSAAP) broke ground on the largest project ever undertaken since the construction of the facility in 1942.
The U. S. Army and BAE officials, along with the local community gathered together to celebrate this momentous occasion. This $142M effort, better known as the A2B project, will consolidate all Area A functions to Area B, the main production facilities located seven miles away.
Holston Army Ammunition Plant (HSAAP) uses large quantities of acetic anhydride and acetic acid for the production of the military high explosives RDX and HMX. Since the plant was built in 1942 this acid has been processed at the Area A facility. A rail corridor exists between the two facilities along which acid is transferred by rail tanker and pipelines.
The facility was built to support explosive production rates of up to 1M pounds/day and is hugely over capacity for current day needs with only a small portion of the facility still being operated. After 70 years of operation, the Area A facility needed major investment to maintain the existing capacity/operability of the facility over the next 10 to 15 years. Also a number of environmental risks exist with transporting and pumping of the acids between the facilities due to the encroachment of residential housing along the rail corridor.
LTG William N. Phillips, Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Acquisitions, Logistics and Technology and keynote speaker at the ceremony said, "This is a critical day for our Army, the Department of Defense, and Holston Army Ammunition Plant. It's a day that will live in history."
The idea of the A2B move was proposed to LTG Phillips which brought him to Holston Army Ammunition Plant to get a look at all that was involved in doing something this monumental. He came, he saw, and he was convinced. LTG Phillips said that seeing the aging pipeline that carries acid through portions of a residential community, over the Holston River, and along heavily traveled Industry Drive convinced him of the need to consolidate operations. "At that point I knew we had to do something to protect this pristine river, to protect the people of this great community, and to make sure that we did the right thing". He made it a priority to work to secure funding for the move and eventually got the thumbs up.
In May 2009, the A2B Project was approved and funding was authorized. Construction of the Control Room Complex for the project, as well as an entry road to the new facility, has recently begun and will be completed within the next 10 months. Design efforts on the chemical processing area will be completed by end of 3rd quarter 2011 with construction of the major facility to begin early 1st quarter 2012. Purchasing of long lead equipment items to support the construction phase has already commenced. Target for completion of construction of the new facility is September 2013, with commissioning completed and start-up for the new facility by 1st quarter 2014. At this time, the Area A facility will be shut down.
The A2B project is expected to add an additional 150 to 200 jobs to the local economy during the construction phase.