Date: Jan 10, 2006
Casting industry recognizes specialized component of new Picatinny-developed howitzer
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. -A specialized part of the Picatinny-developed M777A1 155mm Lightweight Towed Howitzer, the Army's and Marine Corps'newest artillery system, recently vied for top honors in the 2005 Investment Casting Institute's casting contest.
The annual contest recognizes casting facilities that manufacture components illustrating and promoting the benefits and flexibility of the investment casting process.
The M777A1's buffer yoke, a titanium investment casting, competed in the contest's military/defense category. It was co-developed by a joint Picatinny-Alcoa Howmet team.
Although it did not win the competition, the part will be displayed in the Institute's traveling exhibit.
M777A1 Project Manager James Shields, who oversees the program, said that the buffer yoke is a major structural part of the weapon system.
A forward support for the gun tube, it ties in the recoil system to the cradle and provides a means to support the firing loads, he said.
Locally, the exhibit will appear at the Atlantic Design and Manufacturing Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City on June 6-8.
"The buffer yoke is one of a number of advanced titanium investment castings within the M777," said the program's business manager Martin Kane.
"The work we've done in developing specifications and manufacturing processes for titanium castings is paving the way for follow-on systems like the Future Combat System."
A joint-service program office located at Picatinny completed development and now manages the purchase of 495 of the new lightweight 155mm howitzers for the Marine Corps and the Army.
The first ground combat system to make extensive use of titanium in its major structures to trim weight, the M777A1 is 7,000 pounds lighter than the weapon it replaces.
It will replace all of the Marine Corps'current M198 towed howitzers and will be the artillery system for the Army's Stryker Brigade Combat Teams.
The M777A1 fire the Army's Excalibur precision-guided projectile, program under development at Picatinny. Excalibur will have a range of 40 kilometers when fired from the M777E1. The round's GPS and inertial navigation guidance will enable it to deliver precision strike capability (<10 meters CEP) at all ranges. .
Excalibur is scheduled to be fielded to U. S. troops in Iraq in late 2006 when the Army starts taking delivery of its first M777A1's.
Picatinny Arsenal is the Army's principal researcher, developer and sustainer of current and future military armaments and munitions systems.
In May, the Department of Defense designated the installation as its center of excellence for guns and ammunition.