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February 17, 2009

Senator Inhofe Visits Southeast Oklahoma

Visits McAlester Army Ammunition Plant

McAlester, OK - U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Senior Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was in Southeast Oklahoma today visiting the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (McAAP). The Senator was briefed on current demilitarization processes of cluster munitions, the beginning of the integration of a ground sensor-fuzed weapon for the Future Combat Systems, as well as an outloading mission sending live and practice ammunition to allies, including Israel. Senator Inhofe today also met with Choctaw Manufacturing Development Group to discuss their work fielding trailers for the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps.  He also met with McAlester civic leaders to discuss current issues important to the community.

"Great things are happening in McAlester today," Senator Inhofe said. "McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, already at the forefront of munitions assembly, will take another step forward next week as it begins the process of integrating pieces of the Intelligent Munition System (IMS), one of the components of the Future Combat System (FCS) being fielded early by the Army.  McAAP is also the site of warhead pressing and final integration of the Sensor-Fuzed Weapon, a 'smart' cluster munition currently successfully in use by the Air Force aboard B-52s in support of the Global War on Terror.  Beginning next week, similar war-heads will be integrated at McAAP as a ground-munition component of FCS.

"Another important program ongoing at McAlester is the demilitarization of some cluster-munitions not guided by 'smart' technology like that in place for the sensor-fuzed weapons.  McAAP is saving the military millions from the cost of procuring new projectile bodies for training by recycling and converting the demilitarized munitions into training weapons, many of which will be used by our Soldiers at Ft. Sill. There is a growing demilitarization requirement for these types of munitions in the military, so processes like that taking place at McAAP will become much more important in the future. 

"McAlester's outload mission is the largest in the armed services, as they ship containers of munitions to all of the services as well as to our allies worldwide. The plant has the capability to outload over 400 containers per day. Currently McAAP is outloading small and large munitions, both live and practice, around the globe.

"Community support is a huge factor in future BRAC consideration, so I'm always proud to see the strong relationship between the community of McAlester and the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant.  After meeting with both military leadership and civic partners today, I know that their relationship remains strong and mutually beneficial."

Senator Inhofe also visited Emerson Elementary school to congratulate them on their recent honor receiving the "Oklahoma Academic Achievement Award," which recognizes the top sixteen schools in Oklahoma for their improvement in the Academic Performance Index.  Emerson Elementary was awarded second place for the 2007-2008 school year.

"I would like to congratulate the students of Emerson Elementary school, Principal Brenda LoPresto and all the faculty on their great academic achievements," Senator Inhofe said. "Emerson Elementary is a wonderful example of the strides being made in Oklahoma's schools, and deserves praise for placing second in the Oklahoma Academic Achievement Award."

Senator Inhofe, also the Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, later traveled to Kiowa to visit the Tenaska Kiamichi Generating Station, a 1,220-megawatt combined-cycle, natural gas-fueled facility. The facility has a long-term electricity production agreement with Shell Energy North America, which markets the electricity produced throughout the regional wholesale power market.

"We need all types of energy to power this machine called America," Senator Inhofe said. "Efforts like those at Tenaska to work on emerging technologies such as clean-coal plants recognize the importance of utilizing all types of energy sources."

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