ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. - Twenty mechanics from the turbine engine value stream are helping to repair 310 Stryker vehicles between December 2009 and June 2010. The program, a partnership between General Dynamics Land Systems and Anniston Army Depot, shows the flexibility of the turbine engine workforce as they adapt their work to a wheeled, diesel vehicle.

Depot and GDLS employees are working side-by-side on power packs, performing repairs and maintenance.

They are inspecting and repairing drive train differentials and they have been trained to inspect and repair Stryker wheel drives and transfer cases. Those components will soon become part of their workload.

The differences between the Stryker parts and the power packs and transmissions typically handled by these mechanics have been a challenge, but it is one the workers have easily overcome.

"Versatility is something the depot and turbine engine value stream are known for," said Steve Pennington, division chief for the turbine engine value stream. "It's a different engine and a different transmission than we usually work with, but the processes are similar."

Strykers have reciprocating diesel engines, which has been a challenge for workers accustomed to the AGT 1500, a gas-powered turbine engine used in the M1 Abrams tank, but the workforce is adapting easily.

"Troubleshooting is basically the same, no matter what engine you have," said Chris Rowell, a lead man in the turbine engine assembly branch.

In addition to the repair work, the mechanics are also providing new alternators for each power pack, more than doubling the electrical output by upgrading them from 280 amperes to 570. This enables each vehicle to run more electronic equipment.

Even the tires from the Strykers are making their way to the turbine engine shops, where the rims and run flats are removed, the parts inspected and each tire is either rebuilt or replaced. This process is a far cry from the work typically performed by these engine mechanics.

"We've had a learning curve. We're typically a tracked vehicle process and now we're dealing with rubber," said John Ross Brown, a lead man in the Stryker tire shop. "There's not a lot of technical work, but it is a little dirtier and a little more difficult."

Already, 87 Strykers in the repair program have been completed and accepted by Defense Contract Management Agency.

Despite the learning curve as they began this work, the mechanics in the turbine shop are staying on schedule for the remainder of the workload.

"They are more than keeping up with the rest of the line," said Billie Hooper, program manager for the Strykers. "They are on schedule, if not ahead of it."