Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Report: Increasing air assaults have Army expediting replacement ammo for Apache attack helicopters

Above: An AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. Fired at rates up to 400 rounds per minute, the 30 mm round has a shaped charge that creates a molten jet of copper, allowing it to penetrate armored targets.

U.S. Army Apache helicopters are firing so many 30mm rounds in Iraq and Afghanistan that replacement ammo is being airlifted into theater, bypassing the normal depot-to-cargo-ship process, say Army and ATK officials.

In November, Army officials found that they were running out of M789 explosive rounds for the helicopters’ M230 chain guns, so they asked ammo maker ATK to ramp up delivery to 50,000 to 60,000 rounds per month.

“Normally, the military stockpiles ammo and puts it on a replenishment ship,” said Jeff Smith, director of business development for ATK’s medium-caliber systems division in Mesa, Ariz. “It is taken in theater and stored in an ammo facility over in theater. Their inventories were getting low.”

Now, the ammunition is loaded, assembled and packed at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant, Va., then trucked to an Air Force base on the East Coast and airlifted to Iraq and Afghanistan, Smith said.

Read the rest at Army Times

Related Link:
Report: U.S. airstirkes double over rate last year