By Mrs Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)January 20, 2012
Anniston Army Depot, Ala. -- The depot is working quickly to equip warfighters with a new tool to combat improvised explosive devices -- something that looks like it belongs in a farmer's field rather than behind a military vehicle.
The tool, an iron scrape, is designed to drag behind a Husky Metal Detecting and Marking Vehicle, digging into the ground and exposing detonation wires attached to IEDs.
The Husky detects mines and improvised explosive devices three ways -- with ground-penetrating radar, metal-detecting panels and, now, a scrape that locates IEDs with wired detonation mechanisms.
"A lot of roads in Afghanistan are unimproved roads, dirt roads, so this is used to locate IEDs buried on those routes," said Tony Pollard a mechanical engineer for the Directorate of Engineering and Quality. "It's another tool in the Soldier's box, so they can search for, identify and neutralize IEDs."
According to Pollard, the Army wanted to manufacture the scrape within the Army, in part to save time.
"From the day we received funding until the first kit landed in Afghanistan, it took 62 days," he said.
Achieving the quick turn-around time took a lot of coordination and cooperation throughout the depot.
"It took the entire Anniston team to make this program happen in the time frame it did -- from contracting to Legal as well as the Directorates of Material Management, Engineering and Quality, Public Works, Production Management and Production," said Pollard. "DPM, contracting and legal prepared and pushed the procurement packages through and purchased the buy items and materials required to support production of the iron scrapes."
"This is not an elaborate piece of equipment, but it is a monumental accomplishment for the depot. The fact that these various people and organizations worked together so well to get the project done in such a short time is impressive," said Patti Sparks, process optimization manager for the Manufacturing, Cleaning and Finishing Value Stream.
Depot employees have also been able to hone skills, such as metal forming, that aren't required for many other programs here. This enables potential customers to see the wide variety of skill sets offered by the depot's workforce.
"We are fabricating this system from raw materials. There are very few parts purchased from outside suppliers," said Sparks.
The tines on the scrape, which dig in the dirt for wires, currently come from an overseas manufacturer, but the depot recently began a pilot program to manufacture them here. In addition to the tines, other equipment for the scrape, such as the winch that raises and lowers the equipment, is made elsewhere.
ANAD began ordering materials needed for the scrape Oct. 19. On Oct. 25, the depot started work on them and the first 18 systems were completed and shipped Dec. 16. Production should be complete this month on all 125 scrapes ordered.