Ammo waits to be loaded in magazines for the M4 Qualification round on Range 31A at the 2013 Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition, Fort McCoy, Wis., June 26, 2013.
Photo via DoD
One person is dead and at least three others are injured after an explosion at a military ammunition plant in Independence, Missouri, a U.S. Army spokeswoman told the Associated Press.
The site of the explosion, the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, functions as a test center for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and is the U.S. military’s main supplier of practice rounds, according to the Kansas City Business Journal.
In a statement to the media, Army Joint Munitions Command said the explosion "occurred inside a mixing building."
That plant, established in 1940, was the first of a dozen small-arms plants run by the Army since World War II. Since 2000, more than 17 billion small-caliber rounds have been manufactured at that one facility, which sits atop nearly 4,000 acres in Independence.
Managed by aerospace manufacturer Orbital ATK, the Lake City plant has proven an essential fix for the armed forces' surging demand for small-caliber ammo during the early years of the Global War on Terror. In 2011, industry magazine Small Arms Defense Journal dubbed the plant an "ammunition mecca in middle America":
A lot has changed since 1940, and yet the plant is remarkably simple. Raw materials come in, and finished ammunition goes out. Nearly everything is manufactured on site – primers, brass cartridges, and projectiles are all made on site, in a variety of sizes and calibers. Four types of ammunition are manufactured on site – 5.56mm, 7.62mm, .50 BMG and 20mm. The small arms ammunition – 5.56mm, 7.62mm, and .50 BMG – are produced from raw materials, while the 20mm ammunition is assembled from components delivered from off site. In the ten years of operation, ATK has delivered 10 billion rounds of ammunition to the U.S. Army. As a testament to the importance of the Lake City Facility, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. visited the plant in October 2009. “I’m out here on my first trip to Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, and I’m hugely impressed with what I’ve seen here. Lake City Army Ammunition Plant is a critical manufacturer of small caliber ammunition. We are using 20 million rounds per year in Afghanistan.” Casey said.
ATK had just closed a $92 million order for small-caliber ammunition the day before the explosion, the Business Journal notes.
This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.
U.S. Air Force Col. Jeannie Leavitt, the outgoing commander of the 4th Fighter Wing, pilots an F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft over North Carolina May 29, 2014. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman John Nieves Camacho)
WASHINGTON — Former Air Force and Navy fighter pilots are calling on the military to begin cancer screenings for aviators as young as 30 because of an increase in deaths from the disease that they suspect may be tied to radiation emitted in the cockpit.
"We are dropping like flies in our 50s from aggressive cancers," said retired Air Force Col. Eric Nelson, a former F-15E Strike Eagle weapons officer. He cited prostate and esophageal cancers, lymphoma, and glioblastomas that have struck fellow pilots he knew, commanded or flew with.
Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials are warning soldiers and military families to be aware of scammers using the Exchange's logo.
In a news release Wednesday, Exchange officials said scammers using the name "Exchange Inc." have "fooled" soldiers and airmen to broker the sale of used cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and boat engines.
KABUL (Reuters) - The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for a suicide blast at a wedding reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 people, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees a pact with the United States.
The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government.
Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban.
The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi'ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels".
Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.
In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.