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Continued Small Arms Purchases by U.S. from ATK

by: Matthew Potter
October 29, 2010

Category: Alliant Techsystems, Business Line, Companies, Contract Awards, Countries, Department of Defense, Events, logistics, production program, Services, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps | RSS 2.0

Since 9/11 the U.S. military has been heavily engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq. They have also helped those two countries rebuild their armed forces. One of the main items that has been acquired to support these operations is small arms ammunition. Not only has the U.S. and its Allies gone through a great deal of it in the standard 5.56, 7.62 and 12.7 but they have needed Soviet sized rounds for the Iraqi and Afghan military.

ATK (ATK) has been one of the major beneficiaries of this demand. ATK from its own facilities and ones it operates for the U.S. Defense Department has supplied several billion rounds of ammunition this decade. They have also been contracted to purchase Soviet sized rounds from producers in Europe and Asia for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. This production has required investment in production capability while also developing improved ammunition for the U.S.

The latest contract the company has received were only announced this week and are worth over $200 million. These orders include several hundred million of the new M855 cartridge used in the M4 and the M16 rifles. These are standard equipment for U.S. Soldiers and Marines.

The M855 is improved to provide better performance including penetration of hard targets. It is also considered more “green” as it does not have a lead core like most other bullets. The M855 was developed partly due to complaints about the M4 rifle’s short barrel and its effect on performance in combat situations.

Photo from U.S. Air Force via gopal1035 flickr photostream.

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