Support: January 31, 2001


The US military stopped manufacturing TNT fifteen years ago and has been getting by using a huge stockpile of explosives since then. TNT is used in high explosive ammunition and for demolition. But the current supply of TNT run out in 2002. The troops use nearly six million tons of TNT a year, although this usage is expected to decline to 3.6 million tons a year by 2005. Rather than buy this expensive stuff on the open market, extract TNT from its stockpile of obsolete munitions. This would yield some 18 million pounds of TNT. TNT can be obtained overseas for $1-3 a pound, which is cheaper than making it in the United States. But it is not considered wise to be dependant on foreign sources for high explosives. Building a new TNT factory would take 18 months and cost $28 million. Less sensitive, and more expensive, explosives are favored by the navy which, as they put it, "sleep on top of their munitions" (stored deep in the ship, often under crew quarters.) Thus the navy is moving away from using TNT, generally adopting plastic explosive. 


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