NAVFAC Washington Completes Construction of Agile Chemical Facility

17 June 2022
INDIAN HEAD, MD — Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Washington completed construction of the Agile Chemical Facility (ACF) on board Naval Support Facility (NSF) Indian Head in Maryland. The $82.9 million military construction (MILCON) project is a one-of-a-kind facility aimed at ensuring the United States remains at the forefront of global strategic competition by supplying its warfighters with vital energetics for use in torpedoes, rockets, missiles, and other vital warfighting applications.

INDIAN HEAD, MD — Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Washington completed construction of the Agile Chemical Facility (ACF) on board Naval Support Facility (NSF) Indian Head in Maryland. The $82.9 million military construction (MILCON) project is a one-of-a-kind facility aimed at ensuring the United States remains at the forefront of global strategic competition by supplying its warfighters with vital energetics for use in torpedoes, rockets, missiles, and other vital warfighting applications.

The Agile Chemical Facility (ACF) project supports the existing mission to safely and efficiently manufacture several nitrate esters, including the primary ingredient for Otto Fuel II, a torpedo propellant. Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division (NSWC IHD) produces Otto Fuel for the U.S. and its allies.

The ACF replaces two separate facilities, the Moser and Biazzi Plants, both built in the mid-20th century, and combines them into one. Construction of this new plant was split into three phases completed over the course of 17 years.

Phase one began in fiscal year 2005 and included the demolition of preexisting laboratory and support facilities, as well as maintenance of ongoing critical processing operations. New additions to multiple site buildings were constructed and heavy mechanical equipment was removed and installed. Phase two began in fiscal year 2011 and encompassed construction of new buildings and containment structures, and upgraded storage and delivery facilities for chemicals and raw materials, product manufacturing, handling, transfer facilities, and waste treatment facilities. The third and final phase of construction began in fiscal year 2015. This phase included construction of remaining new facilities, renovation of existing facilities, and utilities upgrades required to make the ACF fully operational. Remaining obsolete and excess facilities were demolished.

Over the last 17 years, many NAVFAC Washington professionals leveraged their technical expertise to complete the ACF. This massive MILCON required herculean efforts by specialists in a variety of disciplines, from contracting, accounting, safety and design professionals to engineering technicians and construction managers working in the field.

“Over just the last three years, we received more than 500 submittals and more than 200 requests for information, which I coordinated and managed with project team members and responded to on almost a daily basis,” said Magdy Tawadrous, who has served as an engineering technician and construction manager on the project since March 2019.

All three phases of construction were performed by John C. Grimberg Co., Inc. in partnership with NAVFAC and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).

“The partnership between NAVFAC, NAVSEA, and John C. Grimberg Co. Inc. enabled construction of this highly complex, one-of-a-kind energetics manufacturing facility which delivers increased production efficiency, eliminates potential workplace hazards, and mitigates spent acid treatment and storage,” said Capt. Eric J. Hawn, NAVFAC Washington commanding officer. “This strong partnership was above and beyond the norm for a traditional construction project, with dedicated NAVSEA and NAVFAC engineers co-located on site with the contractor, working as a team to solve problems in real-time and deliver before the needed date.”

The ACF aligns with Chief of Naval Operations direction to advocate a culture that assesses, corrects, and innovates better than the opposition. This MILCON delivers on all aspects and will serve the United States Navy well into the future.

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