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Holston Army Ammunition Plant

Holston AAP is on two sites. Plant A is in Kingsport, TN; Plant B is about 4 miles away in a less developed part of Hawkins County. The two plants are connected by rail. Plant A has 120 acres. Plant B has 5,900 acres. The site as a whole includes 465 buildings.

The plant was constructed 1942-1944 for use by the government contractor, Tennessee Eastman Corporation, a subsidiary of Eastman Kodak. During World War II, it manufactured Composition B, a very powerful explosive mixture of RDX (cyclonite) and TNT. The facility was placed in standby status after World War II, producing only fertilizer, until it was reactivated in 1949 under the Holston Defense Corporation, a new subsidiary of Eastman Kodak.

During the Korean War, the plant continued to manufacture Composition B as well as rework its stockpiled Composition B. New production lines were built during 1951-1954 in order to produce for the war. However, after the Korean War it was reduced to a one-line operation.

It did not resume large-scale production until the mid-1960s when it was again modernized to produce large amounts of Composition B for the Vietnam War.

After 1973, production was again reduced to a much smaller amount, but the plant also began producing "special-order" explosives and propellants for the Armed Services, including the Navy' s Trident Program. It also handles and stores material for the national defense stockpile.

The Army uses Research Department Explosive (RDX) and High Melt Explosive (HMX) as basic explosives for munitions and tactical missiles as well as propellants for strategic missiles rather than TNT because of their superior energy. As of 1988 Holston Army Ammunition Plant, Kingsport, Tennessee, produced all of the RDX/HMX consumed in the U.S. and 90 percent of that used by all of the nations friendly to the U.S. Currently, Holston can produce 20 million pounds of RDX and 700,000 pounds of HMX a month, whereas U.S. mobilization projections would require twice these amounts. Construction of two new plants at existing Army ammunition facilities will increase production of RDX/HMX.

Congress approved funding in FY 88 for a three-year construction project to build a plant at Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant, Shreveport, Louisiana, capable of producing 2.5 million pounds of RDX a month. The Army programmed money in FY88 for a pilot plant to produce HMX at the Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant, Marshall, Texas. Plans called for implementation of a new classified process for creating HMX called MUSALL (Monsanta, Under Secretary of the Army, Lawrence Livermore) at the Longhorn facility, but further development of the MUSALL plant awaited congressional funding.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:42:01 ZULU