Arsenal produces three million M18 grenades

The Pine Bluff Arsenal has produced its three millionth M18 colored smoke grenade, achieving a milestone, officials said Thursday.

The Directorate of Ammunition Operations made the accomplishment July 2. The directorate passed the two million mark May 2011.

“This is a major accomplishment,” said Roch Byrne, AO director. “I can’t take credit for it. The men and women who do the hard work every day, put the coveralls on, load up the buses early in the morning and work on the production lines are awesome. They have tough jobs. They really do great work.”

The success of the grenade program in recent years has come from the addition of a starter patch — produced at PBA — which improved burn times.

The patch, which looks like a wafer, allows for a different ignition method. The fuse ignites the patch and puts the fire between the layers, thus lighting the smoke mix faster. The introduction of the patch greatly increased start times with the grenades and decreased the lag time. The starter patch was first introduced on production lines December 2006.

“That is the vehicle that allowed for the three million grenades to be produced. Without the hard work and dedication to details and quality by the men and women who work for production this wouldn’t have happened,” Byrne said. “It is a remarkable achievement.”