WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. (Oct. 30, 2015) — Former Army Secretary John M. McHugh said earlier this year that the way ahead for the Army is to build weapon systems that can be incrementally upgraded to adapt to the realities of the day, but the Watervliet Arsenal isn’t waiting for the future as it is already modifying current weapon systems for the realities of today.
The Arsenal announced today that it has received orders totaling nearly $1.3 million to provide the Army with a new, lightweight bore evacuator for the self-propelled howitzer system, the M109A7. The M109 series howitzer was originally fielded throughout the Army decades ago.
This new evacuator will reduce the weight of the current version, which is made from steel, from 203 pounds to about 110 pounds for the new fiberglass version. Making the gun system lighter is only secondary, however, to the effect of making a rather difficult maintenance job much easier for the artillerymen.
What is also great about going after “incremental” improvements, such as what McHugh suggested, is that the arsenal can field a new product that will provide dramatic improvements for the Soldier in a significantly reduced acquisition window. Continue reading