Army ammunition resupply vehicle named after Yuma Proving Ground
The Sun, Yuma, Ariz.
What's in a name? Well for one U.S. Army ammunition resupply vehicle, it's about the facility where it and others like it have been tested for the past decade – Yuma Proving Ground.
There is a time-honored tradition in the Army of artillery soldiers naming their guns. So, in keeping with that ritual, the seven vehicles produced by BAE Systems for the Army's Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) self-propelled howitzer (SPH) program recently received names of their own.
“It's a great tribute to our workforce when our customer makes this request as a way to show respect for the outstanding effort that's been put forth to make this program such a success,” said Adam Zarfoss, the company's director of Artillery Programs. “It also reflects the fact that this program leverages the broad spectrum of capabilities that BAE Systems can bring to bear to develop value-added solutions for the warfighter.”
One of those vehicles, a tracked vehicle (or CAT) that is used to carry ammunition for the Paladin self-propelled howitzer has been named Yuma. A second (CAT) was named Aberdeen, after the two primary testing sites for the PIM vehicles – Aberdeen, Md., and Yuma. Each has its name prominently displayed on the vehicle.
“With an extensive history of Army artillery testing, we're proud to have been recognized as a critical player in the development of this important system,” said Mike Sust, YPG test officer.
Spokesman Chuck Wullenjohn said the vehicle is currently not at YPG, but is expected to arrive in about two months.
The five other Paladins have been named Picatinny, Warren, Endicott, Minneapolis and York. Each of the howitzers will bear its new name on its bore evacuator and rear bustle rack. Two of them, Wullenjohn said, the Minneapolis and Picatinny are currently undergoing testing at YPG.
The name Picatinny, was chosen in honor of Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, home to the Army's Armament Research Development and Engineer Center (ARDEC). Warren is after the city of Warren, Mich., the suburban Detroit home of the Army's Tank and Automotive Armaments Command (TACOM), and BAE Systems' site in Sterling Heights, Mich.
The name of Endicott is in honor of the company's Electronic Solutions site in Endicott, N.Y., where the on-board power management for the PIM is developed. Minneapolis, is for the company's site in that area, which performs all PIM-related cab electric drives and rammer work for the program.
The name York comes from the company's site in York, Pa. where the primary manufacturing of the PIM vehicles takes place.
Wullenjohn said self-propelled artillery testing has been taking place at YPG for many decades, going back to the 1950s. The earliest version of the M109 155mm self-propelled artillery system, which has undergone major upgrades and improvements over the years, with the PIM project the most recent, first came to YPG in 1960.
“Other self-propelled artillery systems were here before that,” Wullenjohn said.
He added that artillery testers have been consistent YPG customers for many decades because the firing range used for testing at YPG is one of the longest overland artillery ranges in the western world, at 40 miles. The good weather and clear skies mean artillery testers are able to fire nearly every day of the year.
Artillery test customers come primarily from the United States, Wullenjohn said, but friendly foreign countries frequently have conducted artillery tests at YPG over the years, including Germany, Japan, South Africa, Israel and Britain.
“YPG has built a solid and extensive expertise in this testing area that attracts customers and will continue to do so in the future,” Wullenjohn said.
BAE Systems began developing the PIM in 2007 and is currently conducting product testing. The PIM howitzer, the latest in the BAE Systems M109 family of vehicles, is a semi-automated, electronically controlled, 39-caliber, 155 mm artillery firing platform designed to meet the needs of the U.S. Army's Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCTs).
It uses the existing main armament and cab structure of a Paladin M109A6, and replaces the vehicle's chassis components with modem components common to the Bradley vehicle. The improved chassis structure provides greater survivability.
BAE Systems earlier this year was awarded a $313 million contract modification for the PIM program, calling for additional engineering designs, logistics development and test evaluation support to complete the Engineering Manufacturing Development phase of the program.
Combined with the baseline contract awarded in 2009, the total anticipated value of the PIM RDTE contract now exceeds $500 million.
Under the PIM effort, the Army plans to acquire 580 sets of vehicles. Each set will include one self-propelled howitzer and one companion ammunition resupply vehicle (CAT), representing a total opportunity of 1,162 vehicles.