BAE Systems Ordnance Systems has chosen Hanwha Defense USA (HDUSA) to modernise a production building at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant (RFAAP) in Virginia, US. 

RFAAP is a government-owned, contractor-operated (GOCO) facility situated in Montgomery and Pulaski Counties of south-west Virginia.   

The plant, a critical part of the US defence manufacturing infrastructure, comprises two separate facilities, including the main, 4,080-acre Radford manufacturing unit. 

The contract with HDUSA, a US defence subsidiary of South Korea-based Hanwha Aerospace, is a significant development in the modernisation of Second World War-era facilities, which BAE Systems emphasises are vital for national security.  

BAE Systems OSI, specialising in munitions, propellants and explosives production, alongside HDUSA’s experience in energetics facilities, aims to enhance the manufacturing process for propellants at the RFAAP. 

HDUSA president and CEO John Kelly said: “The upgrade is based on technology and experience that Hanwha has already completed in their Korean energetics facilities. 

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“We look forward to implementing this upgrade at RFAAP and expanding our modernisation collaboration with BAE Systems and the Army.” 

The latest modernisation effort is part of BAE Systems’ ongoing contract with the US Army to operate the RFAAP, a partnership that has been in place since 2012. 

BAE Systems OSI was awarded a renewal of its operating contract in July 2022, with a ceiling value of up to $1.3bn, extending through 31 December 2026.  

This contract requires BAE Systems to undertake production maintenance, management, sustainment, as well as modernisation of the Army’s Virginia plant, which produces munitions and explosives for the US Department of Defense. 

BAE Systems Ordnance Systems vice-president and general manager John Swift said: “BAE Systems is fully committed to modernising RFAAP and furthering its support of the US Army’s requirements. 

“We are excited to collaborate with HDUSA, as they will use their proven expertise to help us integrate advanced chemical processing capabilities into a manufacturing environment.”  

In addition to the Radford Plant, BAE Systems OSI operates the Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Kingsport, Tennessee.  

The company secured a renewed contract for this facility in December 2023, with a ceiling value of $8.8bn, valid through 2035, further cementing its role in the defence sector.