Base Contact Information
Radford Army Ammunition Plant Public Affairs: (540)-731-5785, DSN 231-5785
Base Operations and Information: (540) 731-5762
Geography and Area Information
The Radford Army Ammunition Plant is found at 37°11′02″N 80°32′41″W in rural Virginia approximately seven miles northwest of the city of Radford and 30 miles southeast of Roanoke. The 4600 acre (7.18 square mile) facility falls across two separate counties, Pulaski and Montgomery. The Radford Army Ammunition Plant consists of two separate facilities, the Radford manufacturing facility and the New River Storage Unit that sits 12 miles from the main plant near the city of Dublin. The main manufacturing facility is bisected by the New River into a southeastern portion that lies within Montgomery County, and a northeastern portion that falls within Pulaski County. The northern border of the facility is formed by a bend in the New River and the southern border falls approximately 5 miles north of State Highway 11 and is marked by Peppers Ferry Road. The western border is marked by Princes Fork Road and the eastern border again by the New River. The area around the Radford Army Ammunition Plant is classified as marine west coast climate and experiences warm humid summers and very mild winters. The facility was built in an alluvial floodplain of the New River and is therefore prone to occasional flooding depending on the season. The water level of the river is controlled by The Claytor Lake Dam however, the facility has terraced berms on the river banks to protect against flash flooding.
In 1941-1942 the main manufacturing area of the Radford Army Ammunition Plant and the New River Storage Area were constructed as two separate facilities. The New River Plant was built as a loading plant and bag manufacturing facility for black and smokeless powders. The main production area of the Radford plant, Radford Ordnance Works, was built as a single-base smokeless powder manufacturing facility and was one of the first in the Country built under the National Defense program. It would later serve as the model similarly tasked plants.
At the close of World War II the Radford Army Ammunition Plant and the New River Storage Area were renamed New River Ordnance Works and Radford Arsenal and, for a brief period operations at the base were suspended. In mid-1946 production at the nitric acid section of the base was resumed for manufacturing of the propellant ammonium nitrate and would continue until 1949.
In 1950 both areas were combined and the start of the Korean War Conflict necessitated a massive expansion and overhaul of the Radford Army Ammunition Plant to meet expanding needs and construction began in 1950. Construction continued until 1958, giving the Radford Army Ammunition Plant a new state of the art facility for manufacturing the cast propellants and charges needed for missiles and rockets. In 1961 the base was renamed Radford Ordnance Plant which was changed again to Radford Army Ammunition Plant in 1963.
The start of hostilities in Vietnam again saw an increased need for production at the Redford Army Ammunition Plant. Production of multiple types of propellant and charges continued at full capacity from 1964 until the end of the Vietnam War Conflict in 1974. The close of hostilities in Southeast Asia greatly reduced the need for production at the base and manufacturing was cut deeply as were the number of employees. In the following decades the Radford Army Ammunition Plant undertook several projects of planned improvements to meet changing Army and Department of Defense standards. In the 1990’s the Radford Army Ammunition Plant was one of only six Department of Defense facilities with an active mission to modernize and increase production in “vital” areas of the plant.
Primary and Ancillary functions
The primary mission of the Redford Army Ammunition Plant is to provide and store energetics, munitions and propellants for the United States Army. The plant produces munitions and propellants ranging from those for the individual soldiers weapons system up to tank, field artillery, air defense, missile and Navy weapons systems. At present the Redford Army Ammunition Plant is also the sole supplier of the explosive Trinitrotoluene (TNT) to the Department of Defense.
The Radford Army Ammunition Plant and New River Storage Unit together consist of 1,038 buildings with a total storage capacity of 61,037 square meters (657,003 square feet). The facility has 214 reinforced igloos for storage of live munitions and their components.
In addition to producing Army munitions, the Redford Army Ammunition Plant is home to several tenants of similar industry. The secure rural location provides the perfect setting for development and production of commercial explosives, pyrotechnics and weapons systems. The base also allows for storage of commercial equipment by local and government businesses. Tenants of the base include;
New River Energetics – Commercial Propellants
Alliant Techsystems – Medium Caliber LAP
Appalachian Railcar Service – Railcar Repair
Alliant Ordnance – Laboratory Facilities
Med Cal LAP – Manufacture of 25MM & 30MM Ammo
Montgomery County PSA – Drinking Water Sales to Montgomery County
Alexander Arms – Develop, Mfg, & Sales of Commercial & DOD Rifles
ALTESS-US Army Acquisition, Logistics & Technology Enterprise Systems & Services
Virginia Tech – Rail Car unloading and Coal Storage
Pyrotechniques by Grucci – Mfg of fireworks shows and DOD simulators
NTS – testing & lab support
Cave Spring Painting – Equipment storage for commercial painting
Alliant Painting – Equipment storage for residential painting
Valley Turf – Office & Maintenance Shop for RFAAP mowing contractor and lawn tractor repairs
US Cellular – Cellular Communications Tower Site
Crown Castle (CFW Wireless) – Cellular Communications Tower Site
GDOTS – General Dynamics MK-90 Field Rep Office
Access to the Radford Army Ammunition Plant requires a valid driver’s license or government issues identification or proof of US citizenship, valid vehicle registration and current insurance. Further information on visiting the base can be found by contacting the public affairs office or visiting Visitor Information.