It’s an important enough issue to worry politicians and military brass, and land at the “top” of the U.S. government’s critical materials list.
Since 1999, the United States has been unable to produce its own triaminotrinitrobenzene (more commonly known as TATB), a critical insensitive munition used in defense and nuclear weapons. The government has relied on depleting stockpiles and European sources for this vital chemical, making a new domestic production site desperately needed. Thanks to BAE Systems, this problem has been solved.
The Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Kingsport, Tenn., recently completed work on a cutting-edge facility that successfully produces TATB. Holston also recently passed several tests to ensure it could produce approximately 30,000 pounds of TATB monthly – which would meet all the projected needs of the U.S. government and its allies. The work was part of a joint contract between the Department of Defense and Department of Energy, won by BAE Systems in 2011.
The new facility has won two prestigious accolades: a 2014 NAC Award from the National Armaments Consortium and an Award of Excellence from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.
“TATB is a vital component in numerous strategic and tactical weapon systems in our inventory, and the ability to manufacture it had been lost in this country. It’s very satisfying to know that BAE Systems played a key role in bringing this capability back to the U.S.,” said Mike Ervin, director of Innovation and Customer Relations for Ordnance Systems, Inc. “We are waiting on some final qualifications statements from the Department of Defense, and full-scale production of TATB is anticipated in early summer.”
Holston’s new TATB facility opens the door to additional business opportunities with the Department of Defense, the Defense Logistics Agency, and the Department of Energy. Over the next few years, the three agencies are projected to need more than 150,000 pounds of TATB, worth more than $26 million.