By Adrienne Brown (AMC)October 18, 2018
RED RIVER ARMY DEPOT, Texas -- The Army is taking major steps to both expand and modernize the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) fleet. This modernization will continue to keep the MLRS launcher at the forefront of our nation's security for many decades to come. Red River Army Depot has an important role in this mission.
The journey began in 2017 when the Department of the Army tasked the Precision Fires Rocket and Missile Systems (PFRMS) Project Management Office to add additional MLRS launchers to the fleet. As a part of the 'Grow the Army' initiative, the MLRS fleet expansion quickly became a top priority.
The initiative will expand the MLRS fleet by up to 160 vehicles via conversion of obsolete, unserviceable M270A0 MLRS launchers during fiscal year 2019-2022. The program will also upgrade 225 current M270A1 MLRS launchers during fiscal year 2022-2030. This fleet expansion will modernize the vehicles to extend the operational life through 2050.
"We have a fleet of unserviceable M270A0s that are stored at Red River that we will tear down to rebuild into M270A2 launchers," said Caleb Nabors, Assistant Product Manager for MLRS. "Our Project Management Office will leverage the experience of the M270A1 overhaul program and utilize the Red River workforce for fleet expansion and upgrade."
In order to achieve the schedule, PFRMS is merging Red River and Lockheed Martin through a Public-Private Partnership direct sale contract. Target award date is April 2019.
"With Lockheed Martin as our Original Equipment Manufacturer and Red River's labor force and expertise in equipment upgrade, this program takes full advantage of everyone's core competencies," Nabors said. "To us this is the perfect marriage and it will simply continue the great relationship between Red River and Lockheed Martin."
A team of over 30 experts from various organizations have conducted three in-process reviews for the program. Earlier this year, PFRMS directly funded Red River to complete a risk reduction program on two M270A0s. The risk production program establishes a learning curve that benefits the fleet expansion program before it begins in 2019.
"With such a tight schedule, these risk reduction programs really give us the opportunity to mitigate risks before we actually get to work on these launchers," Nabors said. "Red River took two random M270A0 vehicles, broke them down to bare hulls and rebuilt them into the M270A1 configurations. The risk reduction program allowed Red River to document and verify the process for upgrading a M270A0 to M270A1 for us."
As the Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence (CITE) for the MLRS, Red River has repaired and rebuilt the vehicles since 2009. In addition to the MLRS, Red River also serves as the CITE for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle System (BFVS), the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and a wide-range of Tactical Wheeled Vehicles including the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicle and the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV).
"This is a great thing for everyone especially as we recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the MLRS," said Dan Folk, Deputy Product Director for Field Artillery Launchers. "As the Depot Source of Repair for the MLRS, Red River has done amazing work for a long time and this fleet expansion ensures that same work will continue for years to come."