On January 26, 2023, representatives of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering’s (OUSD(R&E)’s) Manufacturing Science and Technology Program (MSTP) had the pleasure to meet with leadership from the U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal and Benet Laboratories and tour their facilities in Watervliet, New York. Dr. Stephen Recchia, MSTP Deputy Program Manager, and MSTP Technical Advisor Benjamin Ewing gained insights into the manufacturing advancements made at Watervliet Arsenal’s large-caliber gun-tube facility and discussed Benet Laboratories’ growth in technology capabilities with the facility’s leadership. Together the Army and MSTP teams recognized that Watervliet Arsenal possesses unique manufacturing capabilities that may benefit other Services and agencies by providing “turnkey” solutions for needed weapon components.
“The purpose of this visit was to exchange manufacturing strategies between the two Government agencies and to bolster the understanding of the battle rhythm for proposal submission and focused investment areas for FY 2025,” said Dr. Stephen Recchia. “We were able to witness manufacturing operations at different stages of large-caliber gun-barrel production, and Benet discussed how those operations thus far have benefited from DoD Manufacturing Technology Program investments via MSTP and the Army.”
The group observed one example of this methodology firsthand, as new, environmentally friendly coating processes were being installed on the organic industrial base (OIB) factory floor at Watervliet Arsenal. This technology, which was supported by significant earlier investments by MSTP, has progressed through the science and technology development phase and transitioned to the installation phase. The timing of this technology transition into production environments met the FY 2028 deadline laid forth by the Army Acquisition Executive, the Honorable Douglas Bush, to remove all hexavalent chromium processing from the OIB.
The remainder of the tour further highlighted the processes and challenges the Watervliet Arsenal faces. By better understanding these challenges, and the technologies involved, the MSTP team can continue collaborating to identify future opportunities for cross-Service projects that could be submitted as proposals for MSTP funding.
The visit succeeded in priming the connections needed to provide another stream of proposals for MSTP assessment. “This event is paving the way to leverage all of the manufacturing advancements that Watervliet Arsenal has made in order to reach out to other Service branches that could also benefit and make connections for future funding,” said Mr. Ewing. “This collaboration can help reduce the ‘cost for entry’ into new manufacturing technologies that other branches often need to meet by shortening the manufacturing ramp up time.”
For more information about MSTP or to learn how to submit your own proposal, please visit https://www.dodmantech.mil/DoD-ManTech/OSDs-MSTP/
Centered, Mr. Benjamin Ewing and Dr. Stephen Recchia