By Ms. Lindsay M Bryant (AMC)September 13, 2012
Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, Pa. was recognized as a reputable leader in their core competencies throughout the Department of Defense and in the national technology and industrial base. The Secretary of the Army designated Letterkenny as the Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence for Route Clearance Vehicles and Patriot Missile Recertification.
A Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence is authorized and encouraged for public-private cooperative arrangements to reduce or eliminate the cost of ownership such as operations, maintenance, and environmental remediation; reduce the cost of producing products; leverage private sector investment; promote commercial business ventures as well as foster cooperation between the armed forces and private industry.
Letterkenny has successfully supported the Army's maintenance requirements through performing repair and return, overhaul, reset, vehicle modernization, and the Service Life Extension Program. The depot possesses the mechanical skill sets to accomplish every aspect of RCV repair and modernization as well as short-notice shipment capability.
Letterkenny's RCV division successfully built code "A" and home station training assets. This capability demonstrated the competence to produce a wide variety of RCV assets under budget and ahead of schedule. New workload began on recap and reset for the Buffalo, RG31, and Husky programs.
The RCV division successfully completed 25 Cougar to Joint Engineering Rapid Response Vehicle conversion assets in eight weeks, consisting of complete teardown, modification and assembly. From December 2007 through October 2011, they also completed 822 Medium Mine Protected Vehicle new builds, numerous Buffalo, Husky and RG31 RCVs.
Jason Harris began his two and a half year tour on the RCV modernization program in 2008 where he served in a variety of capacities including S3 operations officer, support operations officer, Letterkenny forward Kuwait site lead and depot production supervisor. Harris said the RCV program is a testament to how a "can do, will do" mentality can translate into an organic depot capability becoming a proven "rapid" solution to a theater of continuously emerging threats.
"Letterkenny Army Depot's ability to provide Explosively Formed Penetrator kits, the Buffalo, JERRV, Cougar, RG33, RG31, MMPV and the Husky platforms to our combat forces for route clearance objectives saved lives," Harris stated. "That's what the mission was all about…providing a set of vehicles that could detect, analyze, and dispose of any Explosively Formed Penetrator or improvised explosive device that a convoy would encounter on a route of operations."
Beginning in October 2008, in coordination with Program Manager-Assured Mobility Systems, the depot established a repair and modernization facility in Kuwait. The mission came to completion in January 2011. The intent was to perform the required maintenance on RCV systems as far forward as possible to minimize RCV absences from their respective areas of operation.
"The repair effort forward exceeded all expectations and served as a true force multiplier for our deployed Explosive Ordnance Disposal forces. Letterkenny's dedication to providing a quality product made it the desired source of repair by theater commanders for RCV platforms," Harris said. "We may never quantify the true success of this program due to the difficulty in assessing the 'what might have occurred' factor had we not provided these assets to our national treasure."
The RCV division's weld shop, in collaboration with the manufacturing and fabrication division and Letterkenny's in-house production engineering division, possess unique capabilities in producing prototype parts for Soldiers.
"We have the ability to work multiple platforms due to our highly trained and experienced workforce," RCV division chief, Gary Rosenberry, said. "Currently we are working RCV platforms for the Army, Marine Corps and other depots."
One of the most significant accomplishments for the RCV program occurred on August 27, 2010 when Letterkenny was designated as the Joint Services Depot Source of Repair for RCV. The services agreed that RCV depot maintenance would be accomplished organically at Letterkenny.
The depot has partnered with private industry on the RCV program. Public-private partnerships are formed to perform work, which will enhance core competencies and provide a best value for the Army. According to the Army Materiel Command Handbook, partnerships have shown to be a key element in maintaining a healthy, effective and efficient industrial base that is not only ready, responsive and technologically advanced but has a workforce that is highly qualified as well.
Rosenberry said his division has had successful partnerships with original equipment manufacturers in order to complete programs on time and under budget. "We continue to have successful partnerships to date," he said.
The next Center of Industrial and Technical Excellence recognizes the depot's success in missile systems. Identified with core competencies for Patriot Missile Recertification verifies Letterkenny's capabilities are limitless.
The Theater Readiness Monitoring Directorate was given the primary responsibility to oversee the recertification of the Patriot missile by assessing the readiness status of the missiles based on evaluating degradations, which may have occurred due to the effects of handling, aging and the environment.
Driven by the Base Realignment and Closure 2005, Letterkenny was directed to acquire the mission previously located at Red River Army Depot and establish a Theater Readiness Monitoring Facility, Patriot Missile Facility. The $11.6 million, 40,000 square foot facility was completed in September 2009 with Initial Operating Capability established on April 5, 2010.
The facility provides the most technological up-to-date missile processing capability in the world. Electronic technology, such as online documentation, automated data transfers and the "paperless" systems, which track critical assets throughout the lifetime of the missile systems, are incorporated for enhanced data and trend analysis. The facility's test equipment, tooling and fixtures are identical to that contained at the factory to produce the missile, certified round.
The Theater Readiness Monitoring Directorate is the only organization in the United States with the facility, test equipment, tooling and personnel capable of recertifying the Patriot missile. Once a missile leaves Letterkenny it is certified to be reliable for launch and flight without test or repair by units in the field for up to 12 to 15 years.
"Since moving to Letterkenny Army Depot, the Theater Readiness Monitoring Directorate has developed the additional capability to assemble new production Patriot missiles," chief of production, planning & control branch, David Pine said. "Excellence in quality products has always been the trademark for TRMD."
The depot has entered into partnership with private industry within the Patriot program as well. The public-private partnership between Letterkenny and Raytheon is an example of two organizations that recognized the mutual benefits in bringing their skill sets together.
The Director of Patriot Systems Missile Programs at Raytheon Integrated Air & Missile Defense, Michael Fletcher, expressed satisfaction in working shoulder to shoulder with Theater Readiness Monitoring Directorate personnel to accomplish the critical mission in support of the Soldier.
"Raytheon has been proud to be teamed with TRMD in supporting Patriot Missile Recertification, Stockpile Reliability Testing and other maintenance activities at the Patriot Missile Facility for the U.S. Army and our FMS [Foreign Military Sales] Patriot Partner nations at Letterkenny Army Depot," Fletcher said. "TRMD has demonstrated outstanding performance to all of its global customers and this could not have been accomplished without the men and women who work to make this program a complete success."
Letterkenny was previously designated as the Center of Industrial Technical Excellence for Air Defense and Tactical Missile Ground Support Equipment and Mobile Electric Power Generation Equipment.
Letterkenny, the Army's capabilities based Depot, continues to expand its list of skill sets, qualifications and competencies, proving that it truly is the provider of choice.
About 3,000 personnel are employed at Letterkenny, which is located in south central Pennsylvania. Letterkenny Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army AMCOM. Headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Al. the command's mission is to provide and sustain world class aviation and missile systems to the joint warfighter supporting national security and defense strategies today and in the future.