ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. — At the end of April, Anniston Army Depot began a new reset program for M777 medium, towed Howitzers with assistance from BAE Systems.
|David Polk, left, a BAE Systems reset team leader, and Nicholas Hulsey, an Anniston Army Depot artillery repairer, review inspection documents for the M777 light towed howitzer in the installation’s Nichols Industrial Complex.
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The M777 artillery system was created by BAE to replace the M198, an artillery system Anniston Army Depot has repaired and overhauled.
In 2011, the installation performed the first overhaul for the M777 and, in the process, learned not only to repair the Howitzer, but also gained the capability to weld with titanium.
The M777 system uses titanium in an effort to reduce weight, while maintaining weapon effectiveness.
“We are learning a lot about how this weapon system works through this reset process,” said Eric Bennett, a depot artillery repairer supervisor.
This is the first time this system is being reset at Anniston, so representatives from BAE are on-hand in the shops to teach employees the best way to perform each step of the reset process.
“BAE has been building and repairing this system for many years and we are hoping to pick up their work station processes,” said Randy Burke, a depot maintenance management specialist. “The depot’s employees are doing all of the touch labor, but BAE has mechanics on site to teach their procedures.”
Resetting these first two systems will prove Anniston Army Depot’s ability to reset the M777, a necessary step to transition reset work from BAE’s Hattiesburg, Miss., operation to the depot.
“This process will be part of the Army’s transition from contractor support to organic support of the M777 system,” said Tommy Morgan of the depot’s Logistics and Business Development Office.
This year, that transition has begun with Anniston serving as a subcontractor for BAE under a direct sales contract.
Some components of the M777, such as the recoil system and the hydraulic system, must be rebuilt on each Howitzer. The rest of the artillery system is inspected and repaired as needed.
“Both of the first two weapons being reset had some battle damage on them. The damaged parts will be replaced completely, which is good experience for our artillery repairers,” said Burke.
In addition to the two reset M777s, a second overhaul is in process for the artillery system at Anniston.
Burke said depot employees plan to spend time during this overhaul cycle to study each rebuild process in an effort to build efficiency into the program.