BAE Systems has secured a $146.5m contract to construct and commission a new insensitive munitions production facility for the US Army.

The proposed Insensitive Munitions Weak Nitric Acid Recovery Facility will be built at the Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Kingsport, Tennessee.

The facility is being built as part of the army's efforts to increase the production capacity of Insensitive Munition eXplosives (IMX), which are said to be robust but more stable and safer to handle than conventional munitions.

BAE Systems Ordnance Systems vice-president and general manager Reed McPeak said: “The construction of this facility is strategic in eliminating current IMX capacity constraints.

"The construction of this facility is strategic in eliminating current IMX capacity constraints."

“Once operational, it will position BAE Systems and the Holston plant to meet current and future IMX demands, both domestically and abroad.”

Work on the facility will begin this month, with an estimated completion in July 2019.

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To be operated by BAE, the plant will produce a wide range of explosive formulations for multiple applications to support the military, as well as commercial mining and oil operations.

With advanced safety and environmental controls, this facility will also recycle spent nitric acid that is generated at the plant and provide strong nitric acid to produce a range of IMX fills.

Since January 1999, BAE Systems has provided modernisation planning, project management, design, construction, and a wide variety of projects to enhance capabilities at the Holston plant.

Image: Holston Army Ammunition Plant aerial view. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.