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Orbital ATK Anticipates Surge in Defense Department Needs

Orbital ATK Anticipates Surge

The amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) fires a MK-46 30mm gun during a live-fire exercise. Navy scientists and engineers evaluated a strike group’s Aegis combat system and gun weapon systems, including the 30 millimeter gun at the 2016 USS Dahlgren demonstration.

Orbital ATK has hired more people which is expanding facilities since it anticipates an outburst in Defense Department advanced missile and munitions technology needs.

In addition to hiring 1,000 the best way to, “we have invested a decent number of millions, tens of millions, in the quantity of our facilities to compliment readiness,” Mike Kahn, Orbital ATK’s defense group president, told us within an April 10 interview with the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference.

Orbital will soon take part in Northrop Grumman, which bought the company late recently in the $9.2 billion deal.

The company recently invested heavily in their Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in Rocket Center, West Virginia, where it builds rocket motors, warheads and fuses because it’s anticipating a “significant increase” stemming specifically from Army programs that are ramping up within the next few years, as outlined by Kahn.

In Mesa, Arizona, Orbital ATK broke ground with a new facility to permit it to twice the capacity of its industry-standard Bushmaster cannon line.

And the organization is helping the ability to handle building two times as many of its Precision Guided Kits which can be employed to transform 155mm Howitzer rounds. Orbital ATK just celebrated the manufacturing of their 25,000th PGK.

In its Lake City, Missouri, ammunition plant, Orbital continues to be investing, for a variety of years, in capacity growth and process controls, as well as safety upgrades, Kahn said.

Orbital also opened a whole new facility a year ago in California to build the extended range version of its Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM).

The military requested in the fiscal year 2019 budget $20.7 billion in missiles and munitions. The Army, specifically offers to buy more critical missiles and rockets and 148,287 155mm artillery projectiles for which Orbital supplies PGKs.

The Army can also be about to plus-up its Hellfire missiles, Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) and Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) stock, this means more business for Orbital also which gives rocket motors for Hellfire and GMLRS as well as give you the rocket motor for the Hellfire replacement, the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM).

GMLRS and Hellfire rocket motors are made with the company’s West Virginia facility.

And there’s more DoD money for hypersonic and ramjet development and other technologies to extend ranges over to strategic distances, which Orbital ATK can also be buying heavily.

Orbital can be setting its site on solutions to improve technology within its current systems in order to meet the needs of the services in the future, based on Kahn.

Orbital’s AARGM is now only fielded for usage about the Navy’s F-18 Super Hornets, but, right at the end of year, the business will probably be turning on production for the full engineering and manufacturing development phase for your extended-range version, that may allow it to become employed in the F-35, Kahn said.

The AARGM-ER is slated for initial fielding either in 2022 or 2023 and after that the Air Force will continue to work on integrating the weapon in a block upgrade for the F-35.

The Navy’s requirements can be just like the Army’s with regards to increasing range and lethality of the missiles and munitions, Bart Olson, the organization’s defense group v . p ., said within the same interview.

In modern times, the organization has demonstrated the way it can transform the Navy’s 5-inch guns to visit farther and hit targets more precisely through providing a PGK variant to the rounds.

“And were talking to the Navy and Marines about helping these with lethality upgrades centered around the land combat or sea combat areas,” Olson added.

With that in mind, the business is attempting to foster interest inside Navy and Marines to go to a 30mm variant with the Bushmaster cannon. Currently the two services have fielded 25mm Bushmaster cannons. The 30mm cannon can get after a desire for more range and much more lethality, Olson said.

The Army has upgunned its Stryker fighting vehicle with a 30mm Bushmaster cannon and has sent the variant to Europe for evaluation while using 2nd Cavalry Regiment there.

Orbital also has a fast means for those using 30mm cannons to exchange from 30mm to 40mm if desired, in less an hour, in accordance with Kahn.

The company can also be creating a full family of ammunition for that 40mm barrel, to include a practice round, a high-explosive dual-purpose round, an armor penetrating round with an airburst round.

And Orbitals M230 chain gun suited for Apache helicopters has become appearing on ground platforms by using a remote weapon station.

The company is also investing in advanced ammunition, including programming 30mm rounds being airburst rounds, that has great utility in countering unmanned aircraft systems, as an example.

Orbital carries a deployed a counter-UAS system with ground forces, but has ways to convert it to become suited for ships or cruising ports.

And Orbital has also developed a approach to guide small ammunition heading to even moving targets, Kahn noted.

The company took a 50-caliber round with precision guidance and hit moving targets in tests through the EXACTO program with all the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency several years back, Olson said.

Advanced ammunition has great utility for programs like the F-35, Kahn said, because rather than shooting 30 or 40 rounds to hit a target, a guided round usually takes out a target in a single or two shots. An F-35 is bound to carrying roughly 200 rounds.

The company has also used internal research and development dollars to construct and qualify its Hatchet precision glide weapon, the industry 6-lb, air deliver munition you can use from aircraft which range from UAS, rotary-wing, fixed-wing fighters and bomber aircraft.

The system may be deployed as being a single weapon or used as being a swarming weapon.

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