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Howitzer FMS begins at Anniston

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Anniston Army Depot recently began a Foreign Military Sales overhaul for the M198 light towed howitzer.

The artillery is disassembled, inspected and rebuilt to specifications for a U.S. military ally.

"This program is a little different from past FMS programs because the depot hasn't performed a complete overhaul for a M198 since 2006," said Randy Burke, a maintenance management specialist for the depot's Directorate of Production Management.

Aside from the cadmium plating required on some of the components, the refurbishing and rebuilding of each M198 is performed completely at Anniston Army Depot.

In preparation for this FMS program, the purchasing country bought some M198 howitzers from the U.S. Army last year. Those were purchased in as-is conditions without any repairs.

The current program calls for the howitzers to be refurbished and delivered over the span of the next year.

Depot employees have begun disassembly operations on the first weapons systems and a two-line assembly process has been established.

"There are only a handful of people on the installation who remember overhauling the M198," said Michael Collier, an Artillery Branch leader in the Tracked Systems Division, which handles the depot's howitzer programs.

The M198 howitzer is a medium-sized, towed artillery developed for service with the United States Army and Marine Corps. It was commissioned to be a lightweight replacement for the WWII-era M114 155 mm. howitzer.

In recent years, the M198 has been replaced by the M777 medium towed howitzer, which was created by BAE Systems and is repaired and overhauled at Anniston Army Depot through a partnership agreement with BAE.

Article by Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)