Government vs private ammo arsenals in general

I’ve been sorting ammo looking at these Indian rounds when it hit me: who runs ammo factories in India, government or private companies? Also, what is the situation around the world regarding ownership of ammo plants? For instance, my understanding that in US it is mostly private subcontractors, and while 3rd Reich followed this private path, the USSR had total government control. What about other countries?


AFAIK, there is only the one remaining ordnance plant in the USA - Lake City Army Ammunition Plant. It is still government owned, contractor operated (GOCO). The operator right now is ATK. It was lot different during WWII when there were many GOCO and Private plants.

It is common for the various govt agencies to contract for the production of ammunition, depending on their need.

I can’t speak to the situation regarding other than SAA. I know that ATK is the largest munitions producer in the world and they may also make the bigger stuff as well.


The ammunition facility at Kirkee is still government owned.

In the UK the old Royal Ordnance Factory at Radway Green is owned and operated by British Aerospce plc.

In Australia i believe that Footscray is now owned and operated by Thales having been sold by ADI, but DocAV will be able to give more details.


True - but under the MASS agreement with the government, they are guaranteed 15 years of orders. This has enabled them to invest the money needed to rebuild the plant.

You say “but”. How does that alter the veracity of my statement?


[quote=“TonyE”]You say “but”. How does that alter the veracity of my statement?

It doesn’t. But if BAE and the government are “locked together” for 15 years on SAA purchases, that’s a very different kind of arrangement from the usual commercial one of companies bidding for orders as and when requests for tender are issued.

UP date to TonyE info re Australia:
Footscray no longer exists…demolished and destroyed 1995-6. ADI ( fully owned by Thales (France) and runs the Benalla Ammunition Factory
( 5,56, .50cal, planned 7,62x51) and has a 17 year supply contract to the ADF (Australian Defence Forces)…Note “Supply” , not “Manufacture”…a lot of ADF ammo comes in from RG, FN, IMI,RUAG, PSD etc. as the shortages occur.

Australia has not manufactured 9mm Para or 7,62 Nato since 1993, and production of 5,56 and .50 cal has been alternated with years of Blank ammo occasionally ( hence the Importation of “Foreign” H/S). Modern production equipment takes Weeks or Months to re-set for a new calibre or between Ball and Long Blanks, so it is cheaper to do long runs of either Ball or Blank in a year, and then make up the shortfall with Imports— especially since ADF involvement in Afghanistan, ( American ammo) but Training requirements in Australia soon exhaust existing stocks…and ridiculous adherence to the “Rule of Fives” sees perfectly good training ammo being Burnt under UN Auspices.

Doc AV

Further to my specific reply on the Australian Situation, the answer to the main question is that although many Ammunition Factories ( Not “Arsenals”) are Government owned in various Countries, there is still a substantial “private” Commercial manufacture of Military specification Ammunition.

Prior to the fall of Soviet Communisms, all A mmunition Plants of the Iron Curtain were " narodni podnik" or “narodnaya zavod” ( People’s enterprises, ie, belonging to the State). With the liberalisation, and “de-statalization”, these plants either closed or became “Joint stock companies” and/or were purchased by Western Ammunition combines ( ie, DDR plants were acquired by Lapua, and S&B was eventually acquired by Magtech (Brazil).

The Old traditional Western Europe companies have amalgamated or disappeared ( all the Scandinavian plants are now part of the “Nammo” combine, the Swiss & German ones are in “RUAG”. the French ones have disappeared,( both Gov’t and private, although Thales owns plants outside of France and FN has its fingers in several African and other Gov’t Ammo Plants. FNM of Portugal has been demolished; Fiocchi is still independant, due to its large commercial production of Sporting ammo, and of course the British firms have all disappeared ( even though their “brands” live on.) The Former Yugoslav factories (PPU and IK) have developed both Commercial and Military markets, and are flourishing.

Elsewhere has seen a gradual shrinking and disappearance of both Gov’t Plants and private ones, due to market forces and the over-reaching interference of the UN Arms Control office.

China of course, has (constitutionally) ONLY gov’t controlled Ammunition ( and general ordnance) Factories, and Norinco will supply a complete, keys in hand, Factory to any buyer able to pay.

IN anycase, whether Gov’t Owned and controlled, or Commercially owned & operated private plants, all work on market driven and commercial practices ( ie work efficiently and make a profit)…no longer do even “gov’t” Plants run at a loss ( of the Taxpayer’s Money) or as a Guaranteed workplace for citizens of a totalitarian state.

Doc AV

Not quite: apart from BAE’s Radway Green, there are some smaller, specialised ammo plants like Primetake (independent) and Extreme Performance (now linked to CBC), who mostly make stuff like sniper ammo, plus in the case of Primetake less-lethal ammo. Kynamco also makes sporting ammo, having revived the Kynoch name.

[quote]all the Scandinavian plants are now part of the “Nammo” combine, the Swiss & German ones are in “RUAG”.[/quote]Norma is still a part of RUAG and Nammo is offering Vihtavuori for sale, so things might change a bit.
AMA is owned by Expal/Maxam of course, but the sales agreement were dependant on regular government contracts as well. Now trades under the DENEX name.