Support Group Develops New Improved Weapons Mount
July 9, 2007
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, July 2, 2007 - The engineer shop, Allied Trades Section, at the AGSAECOM compound here uses creativity and inventiveness to fabricate new tools to help warfighters in the field.
One such product of their collective imagination and creativity is an improved vehicle weapon mount that has gone a long way to provide better small-arms fire protection for joint servicemembers in Afghanistan.
"For Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy, whoever comes in here, we're going to help them out," said Michael Price, shop supervisor with Allied Trades at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, and a retired Army mechanic.
The design process for the improved small-arms weapon mount began a little more than a year ago when a unit brought in an aluminum weapon mount that had been giving them problems.
"It was heavy, and they wanted to know if we could do something different for them; we came up with an idea to make them out of steel, but lighter," Price said. "There are not as many supports in it, but it's all welded together instead of bolted together. So it's a lot better piece of equipment."
With the new design, not only was Price and his team able to help provide better force protection for servicemembers in vehicles, but they were able to save about $1,100 per mount by producing it on site.
"If somebody comes in with something new, then we're going to re-design and come up with a better idea," Price said. "We save time and money by doing it here, rather than having it shipped in from the U.S."
The swing-arm weapon mount is compatible with the M-240B machine gun and the M-249 squad automatic weapon. The shop has produced about 400 of them and provided them to warfighters in Afghanistan. About 700 have been requested so far.
"The weapon mount has been one of the biggest successes to come out of this shop," said Price.
Heyward McLendon, Bagram deputy project manager at AECOM Global Services, said that the service provided by civilian contractors in Afghanistan has helped the military concentrate on the mission at hand.
"We concentrate on supporting the warfighter with logistics and maintenance so we can get a piece of equipment back into the fight as soon as possible."
Price went on to say that being able to help the servicemembers in Afghanistan makes him feel good.
"I'm retired military so by being here and helping out the soldiers still, then it's a good thing," he said. "If a soldier comes in and needs something, we're going to help them. We haven't turned anything down yet."