Thursday, May 5, 2016

Speaking of quantities of ammo...




U.S. Army orders small arms ammunition

BLUF: The U.S. Army has given $210 million in orders for small arms ammunition to Orbital ATK.

Analysis: These things pop up from time to time.  So when I received the enclosed link with a question as to my thoughts, I had to pause and reflect on what brought about this question.  The military buying ammunition in quantities should not normally raise an eyebrow but in the light of Forbes uncovering that DHS had purchased or planed to purchase 1.6 Billion FRN's worth of small arms ammunition, I could see where people would get suspicious.  

I do not consider this a big deal for a few reasons.  1.  The new ammunition is steel and therefore will rust giving it a shorter shelf life.  2.  Everything I have heard is that the DoD in total is hurting for ammunition due to the late unpleasantness. In fact at one point we had to buy ammunition from Israel just to make ends meet. Which brings me to 3.  Right now we are busying ourselves with Eastern Europe and trying to get those guys spun up on defense infrastructure.  It has not been easy.  I could see the DoD or the State Dept. loaning them some bullets so they can be a better speed bump on the way to Paris and Berlin.

10 comments:

RustyGunner said...

Not having seen these particular contracts, they frequently write them with a very large upper limit. The actual amount purchased is often much lower, and other agencies are sometimes piggy-backing on the contract, inflating the numbers. These things are fertile ground for scare stories but usually not as alarming as they appear.

Chris W. said...

I didn't see anything in the linked article that stated or suggested that the ammunition was steel-cased. Where did you find that information? I just find it odd that you said the ammo ordered was steel, so it would degrade fast, but there's no indication of that from what I've read. Another thing on the steel-cased ammo, IF they did order that, there's nothing to say that it couldn't be packaged in "spam cans" and last quite a long time if necessary.

Anonymous said...

Ditto above. As far as I know ATK makes brass cased, copper jacketed projectile ammo.
Why the " Steel" comment?

free for now said...

Sherriff Joe for attorney general - hope Trump thinks of that one...

Witold Pilecki said...

The comment in the post about Eastern Europe and the speed bumps of Paris and Berlin reminded me of my Army days 1981 to 1987. The Cold War was in full swing, and all my training and mission had to do with the USSR sweeping across from behind the Iron Curtain and taking over Western Europe. Ronald Reagan was my CIC, and nobody had the balls to do anything stupid. We pointed our weapons at them, and they at us. A stable stalemate rarely gets anyone killed. Do I wish for the days of the USSR boot on the neck of the countries of the Soviet Bloc, and the average Russian citizen basically starving....no, but the stability that provided beats the chaos we have world-wide now.

Pericles said...

Military 5.56 has steel internally in the projectile, not the case.

And with a total military strength of almost 1 million, that is enough cash for some 500 million rounds of small arms, or some 700 rounds per soldier - so the Army can conduct about a dozen large scale firefights.

Anonymous said...

This makes zero sense. If Lake City can't crank out enough ammunition, perhaps management needs to be fired and hire someone who can keep up.

Dutchman6 said...

The new 5.56 ammo, M855A1, has an exposed steel penetrater. The old M855 does have a steel penetrater but it was encased in the lead bullet. I just took a Range Safety Officer course where it was noted that, duet to the design of the penetrater, they new ammo will, in fact, rust. For training ammunition, at least where I am, they are anticipated to shoot up reserve of old ammo in the next year or so. Thereafter we will get the new M855A1. The instructors brought up the new penetrater because it plays hell with chewing up the ranges. Apparently it is pretty good at its job to punch through obstacles. So much so that I had heard it was on par with current production 7.62. It kind of shuts up a certain amount of debate on 5.56 vs. 7.62 for a battle rifle round. They are, of course, going to eventually produce a new 7.62 round with the steel penetrater which I would imagine will be a real game changer for busting through concrete.

Extrapolate from that knowledge what you will.

- Matthew

Dutchman6 said...

p.s. This is everything you would want to know on the new ammunition:

http://usarmorment.com/pdf/M855A1.pdf

- Matthew

Anonymous said...


I thought they scrapped that program. That round produces approx. 65,000 psi. operating pressure. It was tearing up the M4's. Which is why I thought they scrapped that projectile.