Watervliet Arsenal, known as "America's Cannon Factory" is an Army owned and operated manufacturing facility located in New York, just outside Albany. Constructed in 1813, the Arsenal has played a vital role in America's defense throughout its long history producing large bore cannon and a wide variety of other products for military needs. The billion dollar Arsenal manufacturing complex is situated on a 42 acre site and spans 72 buildings with 1.2 milion square feet of manufacturing space. It is also home to the Army's Benet Laboratories, whose mission includes the development of Arsenal products and technology.
U.S. Army - Watervliet Arsenal (WVA) is the 142-acre site home to a government-owned and government-operated manufacturing facility. As a component of the Army Armament, Munitions and Chemical Command, Watervliet's products include tank cannon, artillery cannon, battleship guns, marine drives, scissor bridges, and rocket motors. This 72-building arsenal encompasses over 1.2 million square feet of manufacturing space and employs almost 2,000 personnel.
The Watervliet Arsenal, the Army's primary gun-tube maker, runs at about 20 percent or less capacity. Watervliet must recover most fixed costs through sales to the US military or allies.
Watervliet is 8 miles from Albany,NY, pop. 85,000, the state capital. Across the Hudson River is Troy with its history of shirtmaking and iron manufacturing. With four centuries of history behind it, the Albany area is rife with historical homesteads, Victorian mansions and sculptured landscapes. The entire Capital District offers a variety of exciting cultural, historical, and educational opportunities for everyone in the family.
WVA's capabilities allow it to employ the latest manufacturing technologies to support rapid design, development, and testing of new products. It has extensive capabilities in metalworking as well as specialized processes. The Arsenal underwent a substantial modernization program called Project REARM - or Renovation of Armament Manufacturing - in the 1980s which included building new facilities, procuring new manufacturing equipment, and implementing a new training program. In addition, a computer-integrated manufacturing program was initiated which includes shop floor and above-the-shop-floor systems.
Today, WVA continues to support enhanced customer service through product and service diversification. It supports the Navy's Manufacturing Technology program, and is pursuing many new programs including the establishment of a teaching factory to extend training for Watervliet personnel and others in industry and academia.
WVA is also home to the Army's Benet Laboratories, part of the Army Research, Development, and Engineering Center at Picatinny, NJ. Benet maintains the primary mission of development of advanced cannon. Benet performs scientific and engineering activities which range from basic research through design for producibility. It is responsible for the research, design, and development of tank cannon, tank mounts, tank autoloaders, artillery cannon, mortars, recoilless rifles and tank turret items. It also provides engineering support for the production of these items. Benet's collocation with the production facilities at WVA provides an excellent opportunity for concurrent engineering and rapid prototyping.
The co-location of Watervliet Arsenal and Benet Labs allows for complete lifecycle management from idea through research and engineering, into prototyping and testing and, finally, into full-sacle production. All at one site. This offers unique possibilities for timely creativity and production.
Founded in 1813 to support the "Second War for Independence," the War of 1812, the arsenal has been a valuable resource ever since. In 1887, the arsenal became America's "Cannon Factory." It is America's sole manufacturing facility for large caliber cannon in volume.
Located along the Hudson River, just a few miles north of the state capital at Albany, Watervliet Arsenal continues to produce today's high tech, high powered weaponry. Cannon -- the finest cannon manufactured in the world today -- remains the principle product of Watervliet Arsenal. The guns manufactured at Watervliet Arsenal provide the firepower for the Army's main battlefield tank, the M1A1 Abrams.
From recoilless rifles and mortars to howitzers and tank guns, the arsenal is recognized as the premier cannon maker. While today's cannon appear to be much like the "big guns" of yesterday, they are far more complex and require highly sophisticated technology to manufacture.
A 10-year $350-million renovation program completed in 1992 has made Watervliet Arsenal one of the most sophisticated, automated heavy manufacturing and machining centers to be found anywhere -- private or public sectors.
This up-to-the-minute technology is not limited to cannon manufacture. Intricate, prismatic machining jobs are handled with ease. One of the most extensive metals processing facilities in the entire northeast is located at Waterliet Arsenal. Now, with federal legislation allowing the arsenal to participate in commercial contracts, this unique national resource can be shared with the non-government community.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Watervliet Arsenal, NY, by disestablishing all capabilities for Other Field Artillery Components. The Department no longer required the capability for Other Field Artillery Components at Watervliet Arsenal. The Department would require and would retain at Watervliet Arsenal the capability to support core cannon tube, rotary forge, and swage. Disestablishing the Other Field Artillery Components capability would allow the Department to reduce its overall footprint at Watervliet Arsenal. It would also allow the Department to explore partnering with the local community, perhaps through a leaseback arrangement. This type of partnering could allow the government to reduce its footprint while maintaining that portion of Watervliet Arsenal needed to fulfill core capabilities.
The total estimated one-time cost to the Department of Defense to implement this recommendation would be $63.7M. The net of all costs and savings to the Department during the implementation period would be a cost of $46.8M. Annual recurring savings to the Department after implementation would be $5.2M with a payback expected in 18 years. The net present value of the costs and savings to the Department over 20 years would be a savings of $5.2M. This recommendation would not result in any job reductions over the period 2006-2011 in the Troy, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area. Environmentally, surveys and consultation with SHPO would be required to ensure protection of cultural resources on Watervliet Arsenal. Restoration and monitoring of contaminated groundwater sites at Watervliet Arsenal would likely be required after to prevent significant long-term impacts to the environment. This recommendation would require spending approximately $1.3M for environmental compliance activities.
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