ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala -- Anniston Army Depot recently completed the modification of two cabs for the Army’s Extended Range Cannon Artillery project. The ERCA is a part of an Army modernization strategy aimed at improving combat weapons and vehicles.
According to Michael McCartney, maintenance management specialist, ANAD has been modifying cabs that will be used in the final testing for the ERCA, which is slated to be completed later this year. The project, in line with ANAD’s primary mission to support warfighters, ensures that Soldiers will have a more advanced and extensive artillery system.
“We took the M109A7 cab of the howitzer Paladin and updated it,” McCartney said. “Essentially, we enlarged the area where the gun fits in order to accommodate the new, larger weapon.”
ANAD’s mission to modify the equipment for the ERCA took close to 90 days per cab.
Modification involved multiple processes and several shops, including the machine shop, welding shop and paint shop. “The welding shop began the process by cutting out the cab. Then it ping-ponged between the welding and machine shop several times until the cab was ready to be blasted and painted,” McCartney explained.
Precise blueprints were followed to ensure the cab met proper dimensions and specifications. Machinists also utilized a handheld coordinate measuring machine to check the dimensions of each component to verify accuracy.
“Checking these specifications is vital because each cut and weld needs to be solid in case Soldiers were to be fired upon in the field,” said McCartney.
Shops were also tasked with modifying and fabricating nearly 50 subcomponents inside the cab. The components had to be reconfigured from the M109A7 cab to match the new XMR99 cab. These reconfigurations were completed by the supporting shops.
According to McCartney, ANAD’s prior experience fabricating parts and repairing paladins helped them to complete the work on the ERCA cab. “We’ve done great work on these types of vehicles in the past,” McCartney said. “And when you do great work, engineers want to continue working with you.”
Michael Rogers, division chief of the vehicle support division, reiterates the importance of the work. “This project not only strengthens our partnerships but it helps the Army’s mission of modernizing its fleet of combat vehicles for Soldiers,” he said. “We’ve been working on the process from prototype all the way to the finished product. And our workforce has done great work.”