ATK Cuts 40 Jobs; Lands $35M Military Contract

The company cut 40 jobs at an ammunition plant in Missouri; it also received a $35 million military contract for the development of new technologies at its facility in Plymouth.

Eden Prairie-based Alliant Techsystems, Inc., (ATK) on Tuesday announced that it received a $35.8 million contract for the development of a technology for the U.S. military.

In other news, the company eliminated 40 positions from its 2,700-member work force at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri.

The 37-month military contract involves the development of a new fusing technology, which the company says will enhance the ability to destroy deeply buried targets that can't be reached by existing weapon technologies. The technology-called a hard target void sensing fuze (HTVSF)-will provide multiple delay arming and detonation times and is designed to be used with 2,000- and 5,000-pound air-delivered weapons.

“ATK has a tremendous engineering and operations team dedicated to making HTVSF a success, and we are proud to have been selected,” Mike Kahn, president of ATK's missile products group, said in a statement. “Our expertise in the design, development, and production of innovative, reliable, and affordable precision fuzing products positions ATK well to meet future needs.”

The company said that, following the completion of the product development, it plans to transition to an initial production phase in 2014 and then become the primary supplier of the HTVSF.

Company spokesman Brian Grace on Wednesday said that the development phase of the HTVSF will take place at the company's Plymouth facility, and the production will eventually occur at a plant in West Virginia.

Grace also confirmed that the company eliminated 40 positions at the Lake City Army Ammunition plant on March 31, coinciding with the end of the company's fiscal year.

Grace said that the cut positions represent a very small fraction of the more than 2,700 employees who work at the plant-which is owned by the U.S. Army and managed by ATK.

“It was about right-sizing the work force at the end of our fiscal year” to best meet the needs of our customers and our shareholders, Grace said, adding that the eliminated positions were salaried employees and not production line workers.

ATK is among Minnesota's 20-largest public companies based on revenue, which totaled $4.8 billion in its 2010 fiscal year.