McAlester, Oklahoma (AP) – At a compound the size of the District of Columbia, workers at the government’s primary bomb-making facility are working at a stepped-up pace to produce the more than 100 types of explosives used by the military.
As tension between the United States and Iraq has increased, the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant has been hiring more workers and is foregoing its usual two-week Christmas break in production and beginning a swing shift schedule it hasn’t used full time since the Vietnam War.
Workers at the plant in rural southeastern Oklahoma pack bomb casings with explosive powders, making, as they put it, the part that goes “boom.”
On Air Force bases and naval destroyer ships, some of the bombs will be fitted with a guidance system, known as a Joint Direct Attack Munition kit, made by Boeing in St. Charles, Missouri.
The 900-kilogram bombs fitted with JDAM kits have been a favorite US weapon in the war in Afghanistan. They are highly accurate and can be released from war planes at a great distance, affording more safety for pilots.
“With the JDAM kit they’re using more of them than we thought they would,” said Army Col. Jyuji Hewitt, the McAlester plant commander.
The plant is now replenishing its stock supply to make up for shipments to the armed forces. At the height of a conflict, it must be able to send 400 20-foot-long containers of bombs to the military every day for a month.