By Ms. Natasia Kenosky (AMC)August 28, 2018
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- This summer, Letterkenny Munitions Center began full-rate production of the Low Cost Reduced Range Practice Rocket, significant because LEMC produces rockets at best value to the Warfighter and the U.S. tax payer, alike.
The LCRRPR provides precision-guided munitions training opportunities, delivering munitions readiness to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. LEMC's efforts directly impact warfighting readiness as soldiers train on tasks, which supports the National Defense Strategy line of effort, "Build a more lethal force", and aligns with the Chief of Staff of the Army's top Army modernization priority, Long-Range Precision Fires.
"Right now, it's a capacity balancing act as we strive to set conditions for the program offices we support," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Ignatowski, LEMC commander. "We have invested more than $2 million to give program offices the ability to flex munitions readiness requirements into the Organic Industrial Base to allow for rapid research and development in industry, and, most importantly, to deliver war-fighting readiness faster. Combined with the cost savings of the U.S. Army Organic Industrial Base, it yields a very advantageous environment for modernization."
LEMC has been producing LCRRPR for several years, from production concept through low-rate initial production, satisfying the Army's annual training requirements. Since 2013, production requirements have increased annually at LEMC, to include satisfying Marine Corps requirements. LEMC's LCRRPR full-rate production boosts additional output to the Army and Marine Corps by more than 60 percent, with a more than 50 percent cost savings, compared to available commercial sources.
LEMC utilizes rocket motors that would otherwise be destroyed and repurposes them into vital PGM training assets. The resulting practice rocket gives units the necessary training and certification required to correctly and safely operate PGMs, such as Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, in the field.
In order to safely and efficiently fulfill practice munitions mission requirements, the LCRRPR team downloads excess Multiple Launch Rocket Systems by disassembling the pod, removing the rocket and reusing certain components. Next, the rocket motor and warhead are separated during a demating process. The LEMC performs inspection and certification of the rocket motors, including leak testing and radiographic inspection, which certifies a rocket for an additional ten years of shelf life. In addition, LEMC refurbishes the pods while the rockets are being disassembled.
LEMC integrates inert warheads into the certified rocket motors during build-up operations. And, Crane Army Ammunition Activity supplies certified reworked ignitors, at seventy percent savings over new ignitors. The LEMC's continuous process improvement program has driven the cost down and has the potential to see costs fall even lower, maturing various productivity efforts. All cost savings are passed on to the services and allow units to purchase additional readiness with available funding.
"Targeted investment to modernize our current capabilities yields significant savings for tactical units, accelerates delivery of assets to the warfighter, as well as demonstrates best value for the U.S. tax payer," said Ignatowski.
LEMC is located on Letterkenny Army Depot and conducts regional and global distribution of munitions, provides missile maintenance, and conducts demilitarization of munitions for the U.S. Army in support of Joint Forces and international partner nations.