ATK [ATK] last week said it recently achieved a world-class production milestone by delivering the two-billionth 7.62mm round of ammunition manufactured at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP) in Independence, Mo. 

The government is expected in the next few weeks to announce its selection to operate the LCAAP for the next decade. ATK is the incumbent in a contract with a potential $2 billion in sales over a decade, competing against BAE Systems and Olin Corp.’s [OLN] Winchester Ammunition Division, which have formed a joint venture, U.S. Munitions LLC, to manage, operate and maintain the Lake City plant (Defense Daily, Jan. 24).

In 2011, BAE won a $850 million contract over incumbent ATK to operate and maintain Radford Army Ammunition Plant. BAE also operates Holston Army Ammunition plant in Kingston, Tenn.

The Lake City plant began production in 1941 and provides small-caliber military ammunition for both training and combat. The plant also serves as a national and regional test center for ammunition performance and weapons firing.

Since assumption of LCAAP manufacturing operations in 2000, ATK has increased the production rate for 7.62mm ammunition five-fold in direct support of U.S. Army requirements.  

"I am very proud of what ATK has delivered for the U.S. Army while being entrusted with our stewardship responsibility to safely and efficiently operate the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant. We value our commitment to deliver a lean, scalable and sustainable capability that will serve the needs of our nation for years to come," said Mike Kahn, president of ATK Defense. "We take to heart that the lives of our warfighters depend on the quality of each and every round we produce at this government-owned facility. We are honored with this responsibility."

In partnership with the Army, ATK successfully implemented a complex expansion and modernization program at LCAAP that resulted in increasing plant production from 374 million to more than 1.6 billion rounds annually. This includes high-volume deliveries of the Army’s M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round on modernized equipment. The EPR is an enhanced version of the M855 5.56mm cartridge and offers a significant breakthrough in ammunition performance for America’s warfighters. ATK has delivered more than 350 million M855A1 rounds since transitioning to production in 2010.

"The modernized 5.56mm high-speed manufacturing equipment has allowed us to ramp up production of the Enhanced Performance Round in support of our warfighters’ needs," said Kent Holiday, vice president and general manager for ATK’s Small Caliber Systems division, headquartered at LCAAP. "Our production flexibility assures the customer we can seamlessly right size capacity to remain responsive to uncertain future demands."

ATK implemented a unique lean manufacturing system that focuses on maximizing efficiencies through a continuous improvement based culture that targets the elimination of waste. It also initiated a system that employs cellular manufacturing processes, integrated enterprise information systems, and advanced material handling capabilities designed to enhance production efficiencies and throughput. 

ATK received recent orders totaling $131 million for small-caliber ammunition under an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract with the Army Contracting Command, Rock Island. These orders include a mix of 5.56mm, 7.62mm and .50-caliber military ammunition to be produced at LCAAP.