A look at Scranton Army Ammunition Plant, as Ukraine war spurs European demand for US arms

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A look at Scranton Army Ammunition Plant, as Ukraine war spurs European demand for US arms

A look at Scranton Army Ammunition Plant, as Ukraine war spurs European demand for US arms


As European demand for US weaponry soars for cheaper, less-sophisticated items such as shoulder-fired missiles, artillery, and drones that have proven critical to Ukraine’s war efforts, Scranton’s Army Ammunition Plant (SCAAP) in Pennsylvania is in hot demand.

Demand is centered around basic weapons and munitions: 155-millimeter artillery roundsair defenses, communications equipmentshoulder-fired Javelin missiles and drones, nearly a dozen European military attachés in Washington told Reuters in a series of recent interviews.

One manufacturing plant manufacturing artillery rounds is SCAAP, which is housed on 15.3 acres with seven buildings and storage capacity of 509,000 square feet.

According to its website, Scranton has a government staff of eight Department of the Army, to provide installation management contract oversight. The government staff has a payroll budget of $.9 million.

The Scranton branch generally manufactures projectiles with in-house metallurgical testing, exceeding current ammunition manufacturing requirements, with no outsourcing and has multiple automated paint lines and with several heat treat furnaces that austenitize, quench, and temper.

The focus on high-volume, less costly weapons underscores how the war in Ukraine has reshaped strategic thinking in European capitals about how future conflicts could be fought.

Visions of high-tech wars more reliant on computers and machines have been replaced by the reality of relentless artillery duels and soldiers dug into muddy trenches. The one-year-old war has seen both sides expend vast quantities of artillery shells and missiles.

Expressions of interest from five European countries, are the first step in a multi-step acquisition process that includes approval from the United States government and negotiations between the buyer and weapons contractor. It can be a year or more before a weapon is actually delivered.

Demand is particularly high for 155 millimeter artillery shells. The war in Ukraine has highlighted the continued importance of artillery in helping to overwhelm enemy positions or thwart troop advances. The US last year shipped more than 1 million 155 millimeter shells to Ukraine, a standard round that costs the US Army about $800 each.

The US production goal for 155 millimeter rounds has tripled from 30,000 shells a month to 90,000 a month over the next two years, according to an Army official. The huge increase reflects the need to restock US supplies as well as those of allies including NorwayCanadaFinland, FranceGermany and Italy, who sent some of their stocks to Ukraine.

This SCAAP plant was originally constructed as a steam locomotive erecting and repair facility in 1908.

SCAAP was established in 1953 and operated by US Hoffman until 1963 when Chamberlain Manufacturing Corporation became the operating contractor.

General Dynamics, Ordnance and Tactical Systems assumed operation of the facility from Chamberlain in 2006 and is the current operating contractor.

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