The Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri, recently announced plans to begin production on the first new ammunition approved by the U.S. Army in 65 years.
The new 6.8mm round uses a patented lightweight metallic case that can handle higher pressures, resulting in faster velocity, increased accuracy, and more lethality.
“We’re clearing some space now at the Lake City facility to start production,” said Army Brig. Gen. William Boruff. “We will continue to produce 5.56mm and 7.62mm at the current rates we’re at now. We’re not slowing down that production, so we’ll have no drawback in that capability. We’re building a new 6.8mm ammunition facility that will have plenty of space to house that and some other programs.”
Operational testing of the weapons will start in the third quarter of 2023, and the Army expects to field a unit of soldiers involved in close-quarter combat with the new weapons systems by the fourth quarter of 2023.
The Marine Corps also is expected to receive some of the new weapons for its close combat forces. Australia and the United Kingdom also have expressed interest in the new weapons.
With billions in prime and subcontracts awarded each year to companies located or performing work within the state, the Department of Defense has a large impact on Missouri’s economy. In fact, defense contracting directly affects more than 600 industries and more than 25,000 businesses in Missouri.