by Captain Steven M. Noe
Marine Corps Recruit Depot, South Carolina; and Quantico Marine Corps Base, Virginia. Lake City Army Ammunition Plant is the sole Government-owned producer of small-caliber ammunition for the Department of Defense.
The term "best commercial practices" is taking on a new meaning as the packaging of small-caliber training ammunition gets a facelift. In an effort to reduce costs to its customers, Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri, and its parent organization, the Army Industrial Operations Command, teamed up with the Marine Corps to test a commercially designed package configuration for the 5.56-millimeter 10-round clip. This configuration, which reduces the cost of packaging, was ordered by the Marine Corps and tested last August at four training locations: Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base, North Carolina; Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, California; Parris Island Marine Corp Recruit Depot, South Carolina; and Quantico Marine Corps Base, Virginia. Lake City Army Ammunition Plant is the sole Government-owned producer of small-caliber ammunition for the Department of Defense.
The commercial pack, which currently is used only at training installations, provides numerous benefits. These include a significant cost reduction for packaging materials. Packaging alone accounts for approximately 24 percent of the price of the 5.56-millimeter 10-round clip. Use of the commercial pack also results in a weight reduction of 700 pounds per pallet. This alone will reduce shipping costs.
|Finished outer boxes of the commercial pack, each containing 1,800 rounds, are palletized before the entire pallet is shrink-wrapped for shipment.|
|Level A Pack||Commercial Pack|
|3 10-round clips per point protector box (30 rounds per box)||3 10-round clips per point protector box (30 rounds per box)|
|4 point protector boxes per bandoleer and 7 bandoleers per M2A1 can (28 boxes and 840 rounds per can)||30 point protector boxes per inner box (900 rounds per inner box)|
|2 M2A1 cans per wirebound crate (1,680 rounds per crate)||2 inner boxes per outer box (1,800 rounds per outer box)|
|48 crates per pallet||48 outer boxes per pallet|
A comparison of the current level A pack and the new commercial pack for 5.56-millimeter ammunition rounds.
Other benefits of the new pack include
· Use of materials that are recyclable and environmentally friendly.
· A capacity of 1,800 rounds per box versus the 1,680 rounds per crate achieved when using the current level A pack.
· A new packing line that can be fully automated. This will eliminate repetitive motion injuries to workers because the new line eliminates the need to use M2A1 cans and wirebound crates.
· Use of the direct vendor delivery concept, which takes the product directly from the manufacturing facility to the customer.
The chart above summarizes the differences between the level A pack and the new commercial pack. A point protector box is a small box without a lid into which 3 clips slide, each clip with 10 rounds; the box protects the bullet end, or "point," of each round from damage. With the level A pack, four point protector boxes fit in a bandoleer and seven bandoleers in an M2A1 can; two cans then fit in a wirebound crate.
|A worker at Lake City Army Ammunition Plant packs a level A pack (two M2A1 cans) into a wirebound crate.|
With the commercial pack, the inner and outer boxes are designed from double-walled, corrugated fiberboard. They are sealed with acrylic, preprinted, pressure-sensitive, 3-inch tape. The outer box is shrink-wrapped in 5-millimeter-thick Polyethylene bags for waterproofing, and 3/8-inch nylon bands are added around the outer box for ease of carrying.
The Army Training and Doctrine Command and the Army Forces Command have agreed
to test the commercial pack at four installations: Fort Benning, Georgia;
Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Fort Jackson, South Carolina; and Fort Polk, Louisiana.
In conjunction with this, the Marine Corps is conducting their second test
of the pack. A total of 2.3 million rounds will be packed for the field
evaluation. The possibility of developing a tactical variant of the commercial
pack for use in field units is being studied. Such a field pack would be
able to withstand long-term storage and the rigors of field duty. With total
1998 production of 5.56-millimeter ammunition scheduled at 191 million rounds,
and with potential savings of $19.58 per 1,000 rounds using the commercial
pack, it's easy to see why the services are pursuing this project. ALOG
Captain Steven M. Noe currently is assigned as executive officer, Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, Independence, Missouri. He has served in a Training With Industry assignment with Olin-Winchester Division. He holds an M.B.A. degree from Webster University in Missouri.