By Audra CallowayFebruary 7, 2012
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J., (Feb. 7, 2012) -- Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division recently helped Picatinny Arsenal employees complete the second of three logistics phases required before the digitized M119A2 howitzer can be fielded to troops.
"The upgraded digitized M119A2 will be equipped with a digital fire control system that integrates an inertial navigation system with global positioning system technology that will give the weapon the ability to self locate and accurately place rounds on target," explained Deborah Le Vitin, Digitized M119A2 105mm Howitzer logistics manager.
Back in November, Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division completed the first phase of the logistics testing, the Operator Logistics Demonstration.
For this second phase Soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division visited Picatinny to complete validation and verification of maintenance technical manuals, or TMs.
Since new parts have been added to the M119A2, new technical manuals are needed.
Technical manuals include instructions on the operation, handling, maintenance, and repair of the equipment.
During this phase the Soldiers responsible for fixing broken howitzers were given the new training manual and asked to perform tasks using only the new manual as a guide.
"The TMs provide the remove and replace maintenance tasks of the digitized howitzer and prime mover," Le Vitin said. "This exercise is to make sure the Soldiers understand the manual and can use it to perform the tasks needed."
While all maintenance changes require a learning curve for the Soldiers, the exercise is to make sure that the user has all the proper instructions to navigate the technical changes.
"With the firing mechanisms, it's fewer parts to tear apart and it's easier. It's a whole different experience compared to the manual stuff we have back at our units," said Spc. Morris Morley of the 101st Airborne Division about the upgraded equipment.
"It can still be fast and furious, but at the same time simple," he said of the upgraded howitzer.
The third and last phase of the Operator Logistics Demonstration will require Soldiers from 101st Airborne to perform hands-on operation of on-system maintenance in accordance with maintenance manuals.
The M119A2 upgrade is a collaborative effort between Project Manager Towed Artillery Systems, or PM-TAS, Armament Research Development and Engineering Center, also known as ARDEC, Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command, Training and Doctrine Command and Combined Arms Support Command.
PEO Ammunition is scheduled to begin fielding the digitized M119A2 in early 2013.