101st Airborne Soldiers help prepare for fielding of upgraded howitzer

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — Sol­diers from the 101st Air­borne Divi­sion recent­ly helped Picatin­ny Arse­nal employ­ees com­plete the sec­ond of three logis­tics phas­es required before the dig­i­tized M119A2 how­itzer can be field­ed to troops.

M119A2 eval­u­a­tion — Sgt. Jahrahrah Gous­by (left) and Spc. Mor­ris Mor­ley were among mem­bers of the the 101st Air­borne Divi­sion who test­ed the new dig­i­tized M119A2 how­itzer tech­ni­cal man­u­al
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“The upgrad­ed dig­i­tized M119A2 will be equipped with a dig­i­tal fire con­trol sys­tem that inte­grates an iner­tial nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem with glob­al posi­tion­ing sys­tem tech­nol­o­gy that will give the weapon the abil­i­ty to self locate and accu­rate­ly place rounds on tar­get,” explained Deb­o­rah Le Vitin, Dig­i­tized M119A2 105mm How­itzer logis­tics manager. 

Back in Novem­ber, Sol­diers from the 82nd Air­borne Divi­sion com­plet­ed the first phase of the logis­tics test­ing, the Oper­a­tor Logis­tics Demonstration. 

For this sec­ond phase Sol­diers with the 101st Air­borne Divi­sion vis­it­ed Picatin­ny to com­plete val­i­da­tion and ver­i­fi­ca­tion of main­te­nance tech­ni­cal man­u­als, or TMs. 

Since new parts have been added to the M119A2, new tech­ni­cal man­u­als are needed. 

Tech­ni­cal man­u­als include instruc­tions on the oper­a­tion, han­dling, main­te­nance, and repair of the equipment. 

Dur­ing this phase the Sol­diers respon­si­ble for fix­ing bro­ken how­itzers were giv­en the new train­ing man­u­al and asked to per­form tasks using only the new man­u­al as a guide. 

“The TMs pro­vide the remove and replace main­te­nance tasks of the dig­i­tized how­itzer and prime mover,” Le Vitin said. “This exer­cise is to make sure the Sol­diers under­stand the man­u­al and can use it to per­form the tasks needed.” 

While all main­te­nance changes require a learn­ing curve for the Sol­diers, the exer­cise is to make sure that the user has all the prop­er instruc­tions to nav­i­gate the tech­ni­cal changes. 

“With the fir­ing mech­a­nisms, it’s few­er parts to tear apart and it’s eas­i­er. It’s a whole dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ence com­pared to the man­u­al stuff we have back at our units,” said Spc. Mor­ris Mor­ley of the 101st Air­borne Divi­sion about the upgrad­ed equipment. 

“It can still be fast and furi­ous, but at the same time sim­ple,” he said of the upgrad­ed howitzer. 

The third and last phase of the Oper­a­tor Logis­tics Demon­stra­tion will require Sol­diers from 101st Air­borne to per­form hands-on oper­a­tion of on-sys­tem main­te­nance in accor­dance with main­te­nance manuals. 

The M119A2 upgrade is a col­lab­o­ra­tive effort between Project Man­ag­er Towed Artillery Sys­tems, or PM-TAS, Arma­ment Research Devel­op­ment and Engi­neer­ing Cen­ter, also known as ARDEC, Tank-Auto­mo­tive and Arma­ments Com­mand, Train­ing and Doc­trine Com­mand and Com­bined Arms Sup­port Command. 

PEO Ammu­ni­tion is sched­uled to begin field­ing the dig­i­tized M119A2 in ear­ly 2013. 

U.S. Army 

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