Skip to comments.US asks private sector to ease bullet shortage
Posted on 05/26/2004 6:53:33 PM PDT by NCjim
Even in the age of unmanned aerial vehicles, satellite-guided bombs and night-vision goggles, the US army cannot fight a war without its most basic necessity: bullets.
And with more troops in Iraq, more intense combat than expected and the need for almost every soldier from frontline infantryman to rearguard logistician to be prepared for an ambush, the army suddenly finds itself in a bullet crunch.
According to a requisition last week by the Army Field Support Command, the service will need 300m to 500m more bullets a year for at least five years, or more than 1.5m a year for combat and training. And because the single army-owned, small-calibre ammunition factory in Lake City, Missouri, can produce only 1.2m bullets annually, the army is suddenly scrambling to get private defence contractors to help fill the gap.
The bullet problem has its roots in a Pentagon effort to restock its depleted war materiel reserve. But it has been exacerbated by the ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, where rearguard and supply units have been thinly-stretched throughout the countryside, occasionally without active duty combat soldiers to protect them.
The army's formal solicitation acknowledges that its current m anufacturing abilities have been all but exhausted. "Increasing military contingencies have created a situation where the capability to produce small calibre ammunition through conventional methods has been fully exercised," it said.
Specifically, the army is looking for 300m more bullets annually, potentially rising to 500m a year.
Alliant Techsystems, which runs the army-owned factory in Lake City, is in talks with the military about remedying the bullet production shortage, insisting it could expand output by 200m to 300m a year.
General Dynamics, the US defence contractor which submitted its proposed solution on Tuesday, said it had pulled together several small bullet suppliers - including Winchester, a unit of Olin Corporation; Israel Military Industries; and Canada's SNC Technologies - to meet the army's gap.
"We're using so much ammunition in Iraq there isn't enough capacity around," said Eric Hugel, a defence industry analyst at Sephens Inc. "They have to go internationally."
"....Alliant Techsystems, which runs the army-owned factory in Lake City, is in talks with the military about remedying the bullet production shortage, insisting it could expand output by 200m to 300m a year..."
Gadzooks, another illiterate journalist. The word he wants is "remediating"...
Response: Yet another result of "outsourcing?"
More a victim of piss poor planning. The private sector can easily pick up the slack provided that they can make a reasonable profit.
Interesting thought. If OUR troops, who are well trained to aim before firing, are getting a bit short, you gotta wonder about the Jihadists whose supply lines gotta be much more fragile than ours and whose primary "tactic" is to spray 'n pray a whole mag.
There's something I find vastly amusing about getting the civilian ammo market to make up for military shortfalls. Heck, they oughta just pass the hat at my local range.
Didn't they do something like this in WWII?
there are millions of tons of munitions buried all over the country - tons stored in mosques. they have plenty I think.
but isn't alot of our ammo specialized? who in the private sector makes ammo for AC130 guns, or the guns on the Bradleys?
"The private sector can easily pick up the slack provided that they can make a reasonable profit." Not necessarily. Winchester is already into the act with a contract to produce 5.56mm Ball M855 ammunition. Just how much do you know about the Remington Arms Company and Federal Cartridge Company's current capacity to produce such ammunition? Can you name any other U.S. manufacturer with the capability and capacity? Please get your facts correct before posting.
because the single army-owned, small-calibre ammunition factory in Lake City, Missouri, can produce only 1.2m bullets annually, the army is suddenly scrambling to get private defence contractors to help fill the gap.
From the article. We are using more then this factory can make. That is all.
I suppose they could buy another one but start-up would take a while. Not sure how I feel about the army owning factories in the first place. Just seems wrong somehow.
The government owns the ammunition production facility in Lake City, Missouri but private industry operates it.
How about a bullets fundraiser. Imagine school children sending their penies to bullets to kill terroirsts. The left would go bald from pulling their hairs.
Why do you speculate without knowing the facts?
I respond to the point you made, the one blaming this on clintoon and two wars.
You posted the exact comment about a year ago. Is it possible that they don't have a cartridge problem and they are having trouble producing quality projectiles?
I think the problem is that our ammo has to be envirowacko freindly.
Am I the only one who is wandering what would happen if we were in a real shooting war instead of fending off a bands of thugs and terrorists as claimed by our leaders?
Now we are running short on ammunition at the same time as we are running short on troops.
Isn't this "war" going ass backward? Isn't the usual process of wind-down after a victory? Isn't it usual for need of troop strength to decrease after defeat of the enemy instead of a build-up? Shouldn't there be less demand for ammunition in mop-up then would be required in full combat between regular armies?
I'm all for supplying the army with more bullets, but it would be better if they gave the troops powder and primers as well, maybe in some sort of self-contained cartridge.
Seems the Saudis needed all the 9mm ammo for celebrating with their Sterlings.
Thank you. That is a little better. Not much though. I can see the logic but still... call it a knee-jerk reaction from a black souled Adam Smith capitalist.
This article is talking about the UK not the US military.
BLOAT. (Should have listened to us)
Read post #24 before you go off on Rumsfeld.
Are you sure about that?
Oh, please. What are you going to do, stuff them in little tubes of extruded brass?
Dang kids. Flintlocks were good enough for me, but you guys gotta get fancy.
First, I didn't go off on anyone and second the US is mentioned several times in the article. The article, however, was written by the FT of London. ;->
Makes me contemplate if we should have gone to a 7.62 x 39 round. There is an ample supply to be taken from the enemy.
What I have to say about that would get me suspended. Grrrr.
The Government bans the private sector from owning military style firearms, the private sector stops producing military style ammo to sell to the private sector.
Actions have consequences.
The idiots in Congress don't understand that.
BPOTT (best post of the thread)
Lake City (in Independence, MO) makes small arms ammo, up to and including 20mm cannon.
I used to do some work out there. The place is amazing... The first time I walked through one of their 5.56mm production lines, I had just gotten my Dillon 550 reloading press, and while I was pretty good with it, seeing the machines they have out there was awe inspiring.
Interestingly enough, the 7.62 machines they've got out there have been modified from .30-06/WWII vintage, and are a bit slower than the newer machines, but (at least 10 years ago) they NEVER broke down.
Yep, bet we outsourced that too..
Huh? The article specifically mentions the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, which is in Independence, MO, and supplies the US military.
Here's an 'assault weapon ban' take on this.
If every family in America owned an AR-15 there would be plenty of privately owned manufacturers of .223 ammo to pick up the slack.
9mm ammo is in plentiful supply in America thanks to it's wide popularity. I buy 300-500 rounds a month.
You've never owned a Springfield Armory M1903 or M1 Garand have you? Some of the finest military produced rifles of their day. And the plants were darned efficient, too. At it's peak in WWII, SA was putting out almost 90,000 M1 Garands a month.
How hard is it to add a second or third shift ? The way you talk we should get rid of 'the current administration'.
The free market always fixes these things. I'm not sure why that's a hard concept to understand, but the handwringers and fingerpointers don't.
I said no such thing. I just said that, having been in office for 3.5 years, the current administration shares some of the blame. To place all the blame of clintoon isn't truthful, not I didn't say he did not share in the blame just that he wasn't the only one responsible. And last time I check, President Bush didn't ok ammo orders, someone lower in the Military does. THEY should be brought to task.
It just seems wrong.
Maybe so, but it's traditional. Most bombs and other heavy stuff is made in government owned factories even today. Oh the guidance equipment and so forth are made by private industry, but the ordance part is made in government owned factories. The same holds for missles, motars and so forth. The famous M-1 Garand was a product of a government Arsenal (and John Garand worked for the government), as was the follow on M-14. Of course the M-1 Carbine was not, nor was the M-16. During WW-II much of the production was done by private industy, including many that had never been involved in making guns or ammunition before. Prior WW-I, most of the military small arms, and the big guns too, were made in government owned arsenals. Harper's Ferry in Virgina for example, or Springfield in Massachusetts for example. The big overhall and modification depots of the Air Force (Air Logistics Centers) are government owned factories for all practical purposes, although more of the support work in now done by contractors than was the case 30 years ago.
Only the practice ammo, not the war reserve stuff.
Now that is a great idea, which is why it will never happen, at least not in the public schools.
My M-1 was build by International Harvester, and my M-16 was build by GM.
Aircraft companies such as Lockheed, Boeing, Sikorsky, etc., lease the facilities and equipment from the government to produce the aircraft.
I'm interpreting "1.2m" as 1.2 million. Shouldn't this be 1.2 billion?
I will give up my private stock of .223 ammo to the Military providing each bullet ends up residing in the torso or head of a terrorist.
Army should get a Sportsmans Guide catalog (10% off on ammo with membership card).