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    Historic Howitzer heads to Marine Corps Museum while M777 takes lead

    M198 heads to National Museum of the Marine Corps, M777 takes lead

    Photo By Laurie Pearson | Doug Van Dyke, ordnance repair supervisor with Production Plant Barstow explains the...... read more read more



    Story by Laurie Pearson  

    Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow

    BARSTOW, Calif. - As the history making M198 howitzer from Operation Desert Storm heads to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va., Production Plant Barstow continues to refine the refurbishing processes for its replacement, the M777 howitzer, aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow’s Yermo Annex.

    “The 777 replaced the 198 because it is a lighter weight howitzer capable of being air-lifted by the (MV-22) Osprey,” said Doug Van Dyke, ordnance repair supervisor at PPB with Marine Depot Maintenance Command.

    The M198 howitzer weighs in at close to 15,000 pounds while the M777 howitzer, or “Triple 7,” weighs 5,000 to 6,000 pounds, making it possible for the high speed Osprey to transport the big gun, explained Van Dyke.
    The difference in weight is because the M198 is made of steel, whereas the M777 is made mostly of titanium, according to Michael Brown, artillery leader at PPB.

    The M198, named “Damn Yankee,” made history during the Gulf War in 1991.

    “It was the first gun to fire the first round downrange in Operation Desert Storm,” said Brown.

    Van Dyke explained that the National Museum of the Marine Corps has limited space for a display, so engineers will cut part of the howitzer off and mount it against a wall for greater impact.

    Another key difference between the two howitzers is the lack of tritium in the sights of the M777 which caused a unique glow in the M198. Since it was a nuclear substance, some individuals were concerned about the potential impact of radiation on users. However, Van Dyke assures that the amount of tritium used was minimal.

    With modern times came modern technology for the M777 as well. The newer howitzers are equipped with a Global Positioning System which communicates with a mission computer, said Van Dyke. The technology allows for very specific data to be entered into the system indicating what and where to shoot, distance, type of fuse and type of round. These advancements in technology alleviated the need to use the book-and-table methods used with the M198, he explained. Should all technology and power be lost on the M777, it is equipped with optical sights allowing for continued operation using old-school methods.

    With the change in technology and equipment, PPB adapted its methods, equipment and processes to accommodate the new M777. The refurbishing process can encompass a wide variety of shops within PPB, such as machining, sheet metal, welding, non-destructive testing, optics, electric, communications, tires, painting, steam and blasting, decal and stenciling or silk-screening. Engineers have even devised a pull-back machine to test the M777 within the plant, rather than having to transport each M777 miles away to test it in the field. They have also devised a new method to bore and clean the barrels on location using pneumatic tools.

    Whether it is M198 Howitzers, M777s, tanks or transport vehicles, PPB is ready. “Once (the equipment) comes here, we are a one-stop-shop,” concluded Brown.



    Date Taken: 06.24.2015
    Date Posted: 06.25.2015 16:46
    Story ID: 168194
    Location: BARSTOW, CA, US
    Hometown: ELYRIA, OH, US
    Hometown: GRAND ISLAND, NE, US
    Hometown: WICHITA, KS, US
    Hometown: YERMO, CA, US

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