ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- The depot is partnering with General Dynamics Land Systems at the Lima Tank Plant in Ohio, in the seventh program since 2014, to build tanks for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.The depot completed its portion of the work last month and has shipped all structures and most of the components to GDLS for assembly.“Foreign Military Sales programs as large as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia tank program have impacts on many levels,” said Daniel Simon, KSA program director, Saudi Arabia Management Office. “When the U.S. government can deliver on those requirements, it strengthens the great partnership that already exists between our countries. At the working level, these FMS programs create jobs in the US. This program alone is responsible for hundreds of jobs at Anniston, Ala., at Lima, Ohio, at the Program Offices in Warren, Mich. and at many other cities around the U.S. which support this effort.”From October 2018 to March 2020, depot artisans worked to strip M1A1 hulls to the bare metal, clean and repair them and build many of the components taken from the vehicle back to Code A condition.“With our work schedule and workload, employees worked a lot of hours to accomplish this mission, while maintaining production on other programs,” said Chris Naugher, chief of the Laser/Thermal Electronics Branch.The depot’s Component Subassembly Division was responsible for bringing more than 82 components back to specifications for each vehicle.This often meant overtime and shops borrowing capable employees from other areas within the division.“Everybody goes above and beyond to make sure we get things done,” said Winston Steen, chief of the Optics Branch. “But, that’s the whole workforce.”It took a large portion of the depot’s workforce to repair the vehicles. Employees from vehicle disassembly, various cleaning shops for components and hulls, welding, machining, painting and electronics as well as quality control and many others had a part to play.“We anticipated some of the vehicles to need additional structural repair, so we inducted those early,” said Lavon Stephens, chief of the depot’s Vehicle Gun Division.The welders of the depot’s body shop performed the structural repairs, working from a list provided by the magnetic particle testing team. They also performed all additional needed welds discovered during the welding process.“I had the welders and machinists on management-directed overtime for much of the past year,” said Mike Rogers, chief of the Vehicle Support Division “There was a big push and a lot of work by everyone to keep all of this on schedule. At the peak, we were handling 38 structures each month.”In addition to the hulls and various electronic components, ANAD also worked on the guns for each M1A2S.The Artillery Branch repaired the breach and gun tubes for the KSA M1 program.According to Mike Collier, the branch chief, when the gun tubes arrive from disassembly, the serial number and gun tube are checked prior to sending the breach and gun tube out for washing and sand blasting.After cleaning, employees check the breaches and recoil springs using magnetic particle testing to determine if there are cracks.Once repairs are complete, each gun tube is borescoped and sent to the paint shop.The reassembled gun is placed on one of ANAD’s gymnasticators, which simulate the firing process, for testing.The branch’s six employees produced 35-50 M1 gun assemblies, including return to stock items, every month during the program.Timmi Finley, the maintenance management specialist in charge of the program for the Directorate of Production Management, said the program went smoothly with shops communicating effectively with DPM and each other to ensure parts moved through the various processes on schedule.“I am proud to acknowledge how we as a team worked together and made this program successful,” said Finley.Since 2011, ANAD has worked in concert with GDLS to produce more than 500 tanks for Saudi Arabia.“Abrams tanks are very unique, and there are many operations in the build process which require a specialized and skilled workforce, said Simon. “By keeping the tank production line warm, the U.S. government can continue to employ those skilled workers, and continue to maintain those critical capabilities needed to build an Abrams.”While quality is checked numerous times throughout the repair process, an additional quality assurance step was performed for each tank, after they departed the depot.ANAD employees, having researched the reasons behind many Defective Government Material reports from GDLS throughout the years, opted to send these tanks via transfer truck.“This whole program has been shipped by transfer truck and that has made a tremendous difference in cracks,” said Rogers. “It was a win-win for everyone. We always want products to arrive in Lima ready to be built.”According to Chad Fox from the Saudi Arabia Management Office at the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command, the plan has worked.“The structural issues have been minimal to-date,” said Fox, adding the truck shipments were also a cost savings.At Lima, the reclaimed components will be married to the structure, along with new components from GDLS and other contractors. Each vehicle will roll off the line in like-new condition.