Army.mil reports on Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli’s visit to the Army-owned (but ATK operated) Lake City Ammunition Plant …
And with that, the tour started first with the production lines of 7.62 mm and .50 caliber ammunition including its primer production.
“I’m kind of shock we have equipment from 1942,” Chiarelli said when shown an equipment faceplate from that year. “When do you get to a point where you need to replace that equipment?”
Chiarelli stood in shock that on a hot, humid day in mid-July plant employees did not work in air-conditioned spaces out on the production lines.
As the plant employees interacted with the machines in a beehive-like activity, Chiarelli said he understood the need for more modernization.
“What should my priorities be?” he asked while looking at Wyche. “When I look around I see a priority here. In 38 years of experience we have a problem (with outdated equipment and facility). This (mission) is absolutely critical for us.”
There is nothing inherently wrong with using old machinery. I expect every major ammunition manufacture uses ancient machinery in some capacity. The procedure for loading a .50 BMG case has not changed much in the past 90 years. On the other hand it sounds like employees work in sub-par conditions.
At the end of 2008 ATK was awarded a $50 million contract for modernization at the plant.