By John B. SnyderJune 6, 2013
WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. -- With last week's announcement that it received a $5.1 million contract to provide General Dynamics Land Systems Division (GDLS) with 50 Stryker Mobile Gun System 105mm cannons, the arsenal has in 30 days added nearly 50,000 hours of new work to its production schedule.
"This multimillion dollar order will add to our current workload more than 10,000 hours of direct labor," said Tom Buckton, the arsenal's program manager for the Stryker order. "We will begin shipping in the spring of 2014 and we will complete our production by the end of that year."
Ray Gaston, the arsenal's chief of production planning and control, said that it should not be a problem to quickly ramp up production for the order because the arsenal maintained all of its machining data from the last time the Arsenal manufactured these guns, which was in 2008. The longest lead time in the process is the time required for outside vendors to provide raw material.
The arsenal will manufacture the cannons and then will supply the cannons to GDLS, which has the broader Army contract to sustain the Stryker fleet for the U.S. Army. The arsenal often works in partnership with defense contractors, such as GDLS, for large caliber weapon systems for U.S. and for foreign militaries.
This is the third multimillion dollar contract awarded to the arsenal in the last 30 days. Since May 9, the Arsenal has received more than $21 million in new orders that equate to nearly 50,000 hours of direct labor.
On May 9, the arsenal received a $9.3 million contract to provide 500 60mm mortar bipods to the Army's TACOM Life Cycle Management Command. Then, on June 5, the arsenal received another contract valued at $6.9 million to provide 600 60mm mortar barrels also for TACOM.
The Army's Stryker Management Office states that GDLS delivered the first of eight pre-production Stryker Mobile Gun Systems to the U.S. Army in July 2002. Since then, Army Stryker units have deployed into battle numerous times in Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to GDLS: The Stryker family of vehicles is the ideal combination of armor, lethality and "historically high" mission availability rates. Stryker Brigade Combat Teams have demonstrated the value of a force that can rapidly move as a cohesive combined arms team. Stryker is extremely mobile on the ground and is C-130 air transportable. This system provides the Army with the ability to project combat power anywhere on earth within 96 hours. The Stryker MGS variant is a direct-fire infantry assault platform with a 105mm cannon.
The Watervliet Arsenal is an Army-owned-and-operated manufacturing facility and is the oldest, continuously active arsenal in the United States having begun operations during the War of 1812. It will celebrate its 200th anniversary this July.
Today's arsenal is relied upon by U.S. and foreign militaries to produce the most advanced, high-tech, high-powered weaponry for cannon, howitzer, and mortar systems. This National Historic Registered Landmark has an annual economic benefit to the local community in excess of $100 million.