By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support
The Army’s Organic Industrial Base is working toward a strategic modernization effort. While currently meeting the needs of its Joint Warfighters and Coalition Partners, it is simultaneously working to modernize its facilities to address aging conditions and meet future capabilities.
According to a testimony by Gen. Edward Daly to the House Armed Services Committee, across the industrial base the buildings and infrastructure that support the ammunition industrial base average 58 years old, exceeding their expected useful service life of 50 years. More than half were built prior to 1945 and must be modernized to meet the evolving capabilities required.
Crane Army Ammunition Activity, as a member of that industrial base, is also a core tenant at Naval Support Activity Crane. Established in 1977, Crane Army works to safely receive, inspect, store, ship, renovate, demilitarize, and manufacture conventional ammunition, missiles, and related components to support Army and Joint Force readiness.
As aging facilities that support the ammunition production mission become less capable, it can increase the risk to Army readiness and the safety of its personnel. Facilities with the appropriate size and configuration, utilities and technology for the capability, availability of adequate equipment necessary to perform the work required, environmental conditions suitable for personnel to safely perform the work, and the availability of skilled labor with the unique industrial competencies are all required to support the Crane Army mission.
Human handling of the materials located in these facilities should also be replaced with process automation or other technology solutions, freeing the workforce to focus on technical oversight. The Army’s goal is state-of-the-art manufacturing processes and machinery that have safety standards built in, not only improving safety for the workforce, but making production more efficient and effective while reducing risk to production.
In the last few years Crane Army has completed a new Crane Flexible Manufacturing Complex and has nearly finished new plating and ammunition receiving facilities. Total investments for these projects exceeded $50 million. In addition to typical annual restoration and modernization activities across thier facilities, an explosive railcar holding yard and new storage magazines are planned over the next 3-4 years totaling nearly $35 million in additional investments.
Part of the investment comes through Crane Army’s active participation in the Army Modernization Program, which is the Army’s core initiative to replace the largest, most important national-level logistics systems. With these improvements, Crane Army can support the warfighter while protecting the surrounding environment and communities in which its workforce lives.
Radius Indiana applauds Crane Army’s continued investment in its operations, facilities and workforce as it continues its legacy of excellence in serving our nation and providing economic vitality for our region.