Arkansas Congressmen French Hill and Bruce Westerman toured the facilities at the Pine Bluff Arsenal Installation where they were provided with an outdoor pyrotechnic demonstration of a number of smoke grenades, including M-98 distraction grenades and other various ammunition produced at the installation.
The tour, as well as the demonstrations, according to Rob Shields, chief of the Pine Bluff Arsenal Mobile and Recovery Systems Division were conducted to give the congressmen visual and hands-on examples of the various maintenance and rehabilitated projects that are underway at the Arsenal.
"What impresses me is the unique critical manufacturing capabilities here at the arsenal that complements what's done in private industry, in protecting our troops when they're deployed, from biological hazards as well as to obscure the threat coming their way," said Hill.
Following the outdoor pyrotechnic demonstrations, the congressmen were taken to one of the production facilities, the White Phosphorus building, at the installation where Justin Young, the project manager, provided them a tour of the more modern phosphorus manufacturing and production facilities which now uses a series of robotics equipment in an assembly resulting in a much safer handling methods. At the time, the congressmen had the opportunity to watch as M722 White Phosphorus Rounds were handled along an assembly line.
According to Young, the more modern facility will produce 1,800 phosphorus shells per 10-hour shift, and will not only be much safer, but will reduce the needed manpower by two-thirds than the previous 40-50 year old methods.