View Full Version : Supplier Under Scrutiny on Aging Arms for Afghans

Rex Brynen
03-27-2008, 03:27 AM
Supplier Under Scrutiny on Aging Arms for Afghans (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/27/world/asia/27ammo.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp), New York Times, 27 March 2008.

Some excellent investigative reporting by the NYT:

Since 2006, when the insurgency in Afghanistan sharply intensified, the Afghan government has been dependent on American logistics and military support in the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

But to arm the Afghan forces that it hopes will lead this fight, the American military has relied since early last year on a fledgling company led by a 22-year-old man whose vice president was a licensed masseur.

With the award last January of a federal contract worth as much as nearly $300 million, the company, AEY Inc., which operates out of an unmarked office in Miami Beach, became the main supplier of munitions to Afghanistan’s army and police forces.

Since then, the company has provided ammunition that is more than 40 years old and in decomposing packaging, according to an examination of the munitions by The New York Times and interviews with American and Afghan officials. Much of the ammunition comes from the aging stockpiles of the old Communist bloc, including stockpiles that the State Department and NATO have determined to be unreliable and obsolete, and have spent millions of dollars to have destroyed.

In purchasing munitions, the contractor has also worked with middlemen and a shell company on a federal list of entities suspected of illegal arms trafficking.

Ken White
03-27-2008, 05:01 AM
root cause are well intentioned procurement laws that have the unfortunate effect and unintended consequence of forcing contracting officers to go for low bidders and certain types of businesses instead of proven suppliers.

You get what you pay for.

Having said that; we've always done a poor job of providing equipment to our erstwhile allies by using our castoffs and dicey suppliers -- some of whom, very surprisingly, have connection in Congress. No real excuse for it.

03-28-2008, 09:05 PM
I have an old Russian Mosin bolt action and have fired ammo made by various former Warsaw Pact countries during the 50s, all went bang! I've also fired 5.56mm ammo made in Guatemala from the 80s in which the entire cardboard box had been eaten away by some termite/bug leaving the cartridge to sit in insect excrement. They also went bang when fired. I carried .50 cal ammo on my tanks and trucks in OIF I,III that was last inspected in 1950! Never had a hiccup. My point is that the age of the ammo shouldn't be suspect. Ammunition stored at marginal levels are likely to outlast most human beings. Especially the old commie ammo with the corrosive primer. Of course dented, corroded ammo should be suspect.

Now of course I've heard from some that the Bulgarian brass 7.62 x54 casings could split when fired, but this is only what I have heard.

03-28-2008, 09:42 PM
The oldest ammo I've fired was from 1918. It worked OK. I don't put that ammo in my carry weapon, but I'd shoot it on the range.

As time goes on, the muzzle velocity will drop. But the ammunition will typically still work. In the civilian world, we think nothing of shooting 40 year old ammo, unless there is a significant amount of corrosion on a steel case. Part of that is because I've been shooting South African, Guatemalan, Portugese and German surplus ammunition for the last decade without any problems.

In fact, corrosive primers, like most 7.62X39 ammunition will last longer.

I have an AK74 clone at home with ammunition that dates from the late 1970's. I expect every round of it to fire.

One thing I will say. I once had Chinese 7.62 ammo that was from roughly the same vintage. A single round fragmented in the bore of a Mini-30. Now, that may be my fault for pushing a .311 bullet through a .308 bore, but modern ammunition would not have done that.

Vic Bout
03-28-2008, 10:15 PM
Well then, judging from the decrepitude of most of the 80's Soviet era ammunition I saw the bad guys using during my last trip, I'd have to say that the ANA and ACM are now firmly planted on equal footing...ammo-wise. On another note, our ANA received a shipment of Egyptian Ak's that started falling apart in the first 30 rounds...front sights flying off, etc. Go figure. That boy in Miami reminds me of the Girls Gone Wild fella...making money while the sun's shining.