Radford AAP celebrates new nitric-sulfuric acid facility
Oct 12, 2010
By Joy Case (Radford Army Ammunition Plant)
The Army ushered in a significant milestone in its commitment to modernization of the Industrial Base with the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Nitric Acid Concentrator and Sulfuric Acid Concentrator (NAC/SAC) held September 29th 2010 at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant (RFAAP). About 100 people from across the Ammunition Industrial Base Enterprise gathered to witness this long anticipated event.
LTC Andy Munera, the RFAAP plant commander, welcomed guests to the event and then introduced Mr. Jyuji Hewitt, Executive Director, Joint Munitions Command, Mr. Kent Holiday, Vice President and General Manager, ATK Energetic Systems, and Ms. Karen Davies, Group President, ATK Armament Systems who briefly addressed the audience.
Distinguished guests included Mr. Don Chrans, Department of the Army, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8; experts from Program Executive Office (PEO) Ammunition, who provide the direction to the Army's modernization effort led by COL Jeff Wilson the Program Director for Joint Services; the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (ARDEC) represented by COL Raymond Nulk, Deputy Director; Mr. Jerry Mazza, Program Manager, Ammunition Marine Corps Systems Command; former RFAAP plant commanders, COL Jon Drushal, Deputy Chief of Staff, Eighteenth Airborne Corps and COL Ron Fizer, Joint Chiefs of Staff, J5, and COL Mark Klingelhoefer, Joint Munitions Command.
The NAC/SAC ribbon cutting represents the culmination of a multi-year, multi-organization Department of the Army modernization project to upgrade the aging RFAAP acid plant. This new $103 million state-of- the -art NAC/SAC and acid facility will provide strong nitric acid and strong sulfuric acid for the production of nitrocellulose (NC), which is the essential building block for nearly all conventional military propellants. RFAAP is a critical facility within North America that produces NC and the only facility worldwide producing NC at the quantities required to support our Warfighters.
The new NAC/SAC is a model of efficiency requiring 50 percent less steam and 15 percent less electricity to operate. It will eliminate the use of natural gas, reduce NOx air emissions by 80 percent and reduce nitrate wastewater discharge volume by 35 percent. The new facility will vastly improve the quality work environment for operators and provide a safe, environmentally compliant and reliable operation producing high quality acids for propellant production. The new NAC/SAC has a design life of over 25 years with a significantly reduced annual operating cost.
"The NAC/SAC represents one of the Army's strategic modernization projects aimed at developing a modern and efficient ammunition industrial base to provide America's Warfighers with the decisive edge today and in the future," said LTC Munera, plant commander during his remarks before the ribbon cutting. This project has been in the works for several years and we are very glad to see it come to fruition. It has taken major efforts and many hard working, diligent people to complete this great task." Highlighting the importance of the NAC/SAC and modernization projects across the Ammunition Industrial Base, Mr Hewitt, stated, "Modernization efforts such as the NAC/SAC are key efforts to achieving efficiencies and effectiveness within our Ammunition Industrial Base. Facilities such as this, decrease the use of energy, produce higher quality products and emit lower levels of waste".
The NAC/SAC Nitrocellulose facility and other propellant processes at RFAAP remain "Strategic Centers of Gravity" within the Ammunition Supply Chain supporting 54 percent of a Brigade Combat Team's weapons system as well as a myriad of sister-service systems. "This brand new facility is but a brick and mortar representation of our Country's commitment of taking care of those who defend our freedom," said LTC Munera. "This is a small step in the Army's journey to modernize the Ammunition Industrial Base."
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