BLUE GRASS ARMY DEPOT, Richmond, Ky. -- Blue Grass Army Depot, a subordinate installation of Joint Munitions Command, was recently awarded an Army contract by the Joint Attack Munitions Systems project office in Huntsville, Ala., to repurpose rocket containers to facilitate the new Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System Hydra Rockets.
Currently, APKWS components are shipped individually versus in a fully-assembled configuration. Once these containers are available, the APKWS can be shipped as a complete All-Up-Round, reducing the retail logistics burden and providing ease-of-use for the Warfigher.
The month of November 2019 marked the fifth month of the full-scale production of the PA150 metal ammunition containers at BGAD. However, Glen Novak, a production controller and lead planner, said the project started a lot earlier than that.
"Our installation's resume contains similar projects to this one and that experience opened the door for this current project to be performed at BGAD," said Novak. "The initial concept of the modified container to house the APKWS rockets was developed by engineers who work at the JAMS project office, but we had to perfect it. Getting to that point required a full scale prototype prove-out."
Novak described the prove-out as an extreme and physical assessment that tested the overall versatility and endurance attributes of the containers that will keep the rockets safe until use. The maintenance team altered the JAMS office's initial APKWS container prototype through a meticulous process that lasted from October 2016 to June 2018.
"The modified PA150 containers must keep the rockets dry, static free and away from the elements no matter where the client needs to house or transport the rockets until they are put into use," said Novak. "We have modified these containers to do just that."
Matt Marcum, the BGAD project maintenance team leader, also worked on the APKWS containers at BGAD from the beginning and takes pride in his team's work.
"These containers were originally used to house the old Hydra rockets," said Marcum. "We modified them to protect the Hydra with the APKWS warhead on it. We replaced the rubber gaskets, painted them, added a humidity indicator, replaced the cardboard inside with new static dissipative plastic and foam, altered the cushion tube assembly, tagged them and palletized them for shipment. We are meticulous about every step and our quality assurance folks check and oversee the whole process."
Currently, BGAD produced approximately 350 of the modified containers and will produce 1512 additional containers by April 2020.