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A Brief History
In 1977, the government created the U.S. Army Armament Research and Development Center (ARRADCOM) to take charge of creating new and improving old weapons and munitions. Headquarters of the new command was on the site of the former Picatinny Arsenal in north central New Jersey.
In 1983, the Army disestablished ARRADCOM and placed its mission under its Armament, Munitions and Chemical Command (AMCCOM) at Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois. However, the bulk of weapons and munitions research and development remained at the Picatinny site, now called the U.S. Army Armament Research and Development Center (ARDC). In 1986, the Army ordered all its R&D centers to recognize an important aspect of their work with a name change, and ARDC became ARDEC, the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.
The name remained the same despite the center's transfer from AMCCOM to the Tank-automotive and Armament Command (TACOM) in 1994 and to the Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) in 2003. More importantly, the mission remained the same, to develop high quality weapons and munitions for U.S. troops.
ARDEC developed items which proved their worth during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 included the warhead for the Patriot missile, the fire control systems and the ammunition for the Bradley fighting vehicle the Abrams tank, and the laser guided Copperhead artillery projectile. These items were still in use 10 years later during the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Also playing in key role in Afghanistan was ARDEC's bunker defeat munition. Singled out for praise during the Iraqi fighting were the XM107 sniper rifle, the 120mm M919 and M830 high explosive-multipurpose tank round, the M211 and M212 countermeasure flares, the M4 carbine, and several types of small arms ammunition and electric detonators.