LETTERKENNY ARMY DEPOT, Pa. -- Local dignitaries, community members and senior military officials helped celebrate the Mine Resistance Ambush Protected RG-31 vehicle program on Jan. 24. Leaders recognized the workforce that pulsed at a rate of one-truck-per-day to produce 828 vehicles of the newest configuration to serve the nation's warfighters.
Since World War II, the Army's organic industrial base has provided equipment to Soldiers in the field, improving upon and modifying equipment in support of national defense. Depot Commander Col. Gregory Gibbons recalled entering the Middle East with unarmored vehicles which were ill equipped for the modern combat environment.
"We quickly realized we didn't have the right equipment - and you should recognize what your role has been in providing the right equipment to support the greatest Army in the world," Gibbons told the workforce.
Initial planning efforts for the RG-31 program began in 2012 and the depot completed 10 pilot vehicles in 2013. Upgrades to those trucks included increased horsepower, transmission series and the addition of independent suspension. The latest configuration also included the addition of 360-degree spotlights for night visibility, an armored gunner's hatch, crew ballistic footrests, gunner-protection kits and a robot deployment system for mine detection.
U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command Commander, Maj. Gen. Todd Royar, addressed the importance of cost, quality and schedule metrics when it comes to production and manufacturing. He told the Letterkenny team they have made America better by their actions, breaking the standard model by surpassing expectations despite any hurdles that came up along the way.
"You are the ones who made this happen," Royar said. "You provided this system on cost, extremely fast and it is very good."
These metrics are not the most important measuring tool, Royar noted. Instead it is the mission accomplishment and the safety of the occupants inside those vehicles, that in turn bring fathers, mothers, sons and daughters safely home to their families.
Employees across several sections at the depot were recognized for their support to the RG-31 mission. Employees in sections ranging from welding, manufacturing and fabrication, paint, engineering, and supply and transportation were all recognized for this major achievement.
Letterkenny Army Depot repairs and modernizes Air and Missile Defense and precision-fires systems to enable multi-domain operations for U.S. and allied forces.