08/12/2012
Eglin Air Force Base according to the Military News
Air Armament Center at Elgin closes
Major General Kenneth Merchant witnessed the transition ceremony at the Air Armament Center which has been open for 14 years according to the Military News. Merchant spoke of the great leaders that had guided the center and base to great accomplishments. Merchant noted, "This team has distinguished itself under the leadership of Mike Kostelnik, Rob Chedister, Jeff Reimer, David Eidsaune, CR Davis, Judy Stokely and Bruce Simpson. I'm proud to have been a member of this esteemed group." AAC was a high-performing organization which saw technological accomplishments in fuzing, guidance and warhead energetic. Development and testing of weapons was also done at the AAC. Merchant joined when things were just getting underway. "Things were just beginning to take off, " he noted.
Early days of the center include innovative bombs such as the BLU-109, the GBU-15 and the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles. The AAC has over 13 name changes over the years until it was officially named the Air Armament Center. The Joint Direct Attack Munition and the Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile as well as the Joint Standoff Weapon was developed at the AAC. Merchant added, "When the nation went to war following 9/11, many of these systems got their first tests in combat. We've since expended more than 33,000 JDAMS." Upgraded weapons developed by the AAC were used in Iraq. With the final closing, Merchant stated, "Today, we close the book on the Air Armament Center, but our mission to develop, test and produce war-winning weapons remains vital to our nation's security objectives."