Two months after losing an $850 million Army contract, Eden Prairie-based aerospace and defense company Alliant Techsystems, Inc. (ATK), has received a $77 million, three-year Army contract to develop a new type of ammunition.
The ammunition being developed-the M829E4-is the Army's fifth-generation, 120mm kinetic energy cartridge. The round will be used with the Army's M1A2 SEP Abrams Main Battle Tank. According to ATK, the round will allow the tank crew to engage and destroy other armored tanks at extended ranges and in mountainous and other nontraditional battlefields-which will allow for use of fewer rounds and faster enemy engagements and "ultimately increase crew and platform survivability."
By the time the three-year contract is completed, ATK will have finished the second phase of the work required to qualify the new round for use with the Army's M1A2 SEP Abrams Main Battle Tank, the company said. After the ammunition is qualified (or approved) by the Army, the round will enter full production.
In May, ATK lost an $850 million contract to run the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Radford, Virginia-a government-owned facility that it has operated since 1995. ATK's contract for the plant expires in September, and London-based BAE Systems won the contract and is scheduled to begin operating the plant after a six-month transition period.
A week after losing the contract, ATK filed a petition protesting the government's decision to award the contract to its competitor. The loss for the company stands to be significant-according to ATK's annual report, revenues from the plant totaled about $233 million in its 2011 fiscal year, which ended in March.
Since 1980, ATK has delivered more than 4 million rounds of 120mm tactical and training tank ammunition to the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marine Corps, and allied militaries.
ATK employs about 18,000 people and is among Minnesota's 20-largest public companies based on revenue, which totaled $4.84 billion for the fiscal year that ended in March.