McAlester Defense Manufacturers Secure New Contracts
McAlester Defense Manufacturers Secure Millions in New Contracts
McAlester, Oklahoma has been a hub for the defense manufacturing sector since 1943. Home to the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (MCAAP) and Choctaw Defense Manufacturing, the 8(a) certified production arm of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the defense industry is the community’s largest economic engine and employment center. Private sector industries such as Boing, General Dynamics, and Raytheon rely on the local workforce for subcontract opportunities.
MCAAP performs the full range of life cycle management for conventional munitions, including integration, design, production, storage, maintenance, distribution, and demilitarization. Production capabilities range from 20mm rounds to 30,000-pound Penetrator bombs and include precision munitions, large-caliber gun projectiles, and missile warheads. The plant partners with all the U.S. Armed Forces and private sector defense contractors.
McAlester’s critical role in national defense has not gone unnoticed. During a recent high-profile visit to MCAAP, Commanding General, Joint Munitions Command, Brig. Gen. Gavin J. Gardner recently gave praise to the installation, stating "MCAAP’s workforce demonstrated in a very professional way to the CSA [Chief of Staff of the Army] and SMA [Sergeant Major of the Army], and to every distinguished visitor this year, that people are the foundation of the strategic readiness and power projection of the Army and the Joint Force.”
During the visit, Todd Stone, Director of Depot Operations at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant described the capacities of MCAAP’s workforce, which is capable of out-loading 435 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) per day by transporting ammunition via rail and truck. MCAAP currently stores more than 460,000 short-tons of ammunition, valued at almost $15 billion and the workforce demilitarized more than 6,000 short-tons of excess and obsolete ammunition in fiscal year 2020.
The Raytheon's Excalibur 155mm extended-range guided artillery round is manufactured on the installtion as well. The Excalibur round provides accurate first-round effects at all ranges in all weather conditions. "MCAAP's people are a big part of why Excalibur is so incredibly reliable in the field," said Raytheon Site Manager, Michelle Robershaw. "They are diligent, conscientious and mindful; and they've been our partners for a long time."
This partnership of talent and technology is a primary reason for MCAAP’s ability to continue growing and successfully meeting the needs of the soldiers in the field and is available to other defense and manufacturing companies looking to grow in McAlester. “We have a proven record of success. Our community has supported the defense manufacturing sector for more than eighty years. The skills we’ve developed, the workforce training that’s in place – all of it is designed to support companies like MCAAP and Choctaw Defense,” said Kirk Ridenour, Economic Development Director for the City of McAlester.
Choctaw Defense Manufacturing has grown significantly in recent years, led by investments in new technology. For example, Choctaw Defense worked on a prototype with the Department of the Navy that has resulted in over $27 million in new contracts. The McAlester News reported that Choctaw Defense Manufacturing was awarded the contracts in fall of 2021. They are for the Navy’s aircraft division and will require completing fabricated structural metal manufacturing for a small munitions trailer – a contract valued at $26,334,300. A second Navy contract was issued to Choctaw Defense in support of that project. In total, the company will be manufacturing 700 units over five years.
Choctaw Defense President Stephen Nichols told the McAlester News, “We’re excited about it. We're glad we're able to obtain and bring new employees to grow and support the Choctaw Nation and the community.”
Choctaw Defense currently has three facilities encompassing over 350,000-square-feet of manufacturing space. They have the skills to complete design-to-build programs, as demonstrated by their recent Navy contract. In addition to working with the Navy, Choctaw Defense is the exclusive manufacturer of the Army’s M1095 Series 5 Ton Medium Tactical Vehicle Trailer (MTVT) and a munitions manufacturer.
Defense manufacturing companies looking for shovel-ready sites near the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant should contact Kirk Ridenour, Economic Development Director for the City of McAlester by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.